Research Article: From east to west across the Palearctic: Phylogeography of the invasive lime leaf miner Phyllonorycter issikii (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) and discovery of a putative new cryptic species in East Asia

Date Published: February 10, 2017

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Natalia Kirichenko, Paolo Triberti, Issei Ohshima, Julien Haran, Bong-Kyu Byun, Houhun Li, Sylvie Augustin, Alain Roques, Carlos Lopez-Vaamonde, Tzen-Yuh Chiang.


Knowing the phylogeographic structure of invasive species is important for understanding the underlying processes of invasion. The micromoth Phyllonorycter issikii, whose larvae damage leaves of lime trees Tilia spp., was only known from East Asia. In the last three decades, it has been recorded in most of Europe, Western Russia and Siberia. We used the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) gene region to compare the genetic variability of P. issikii populations between these different regions. Additionally, we sequenced two nuclear genes (28S rRNA and Histone 3) and run morphometric analysis of male genitalia to probe for the existence of cryptic species.

Partial Text

The number of non-native terrestrial arthropods established in Europe has increased exponentially during the second half of the 20th century [1]. Most of these alien species introduced to Europe originate from Asia [1, 2] and can cause significant ecological impact [3]. Many phytophagous insects arrive to Europe with the trade of ornamental plants [4]. Others move westwards as stowaways inadvertently transported with imports of goods from Asia [5], with anthropogenic transportation or expand their geographic range on their own [6].

Biological invasions occur when species become established in a new range outside the area of origin in which they proliferate and spread [58]. During the process of invasion there is usually a reduction of genetic diversity in the invaded ranges as a result of founder effects [59]. Indeed this loss of genetic diversity in the invaded region compared to the native areas has been shown in several invasive insects in general [60, 61] and Lepidoptera in particular [9, 10, 59].




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