Origin of pest lineages of the Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata
Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata Say) is a pest of potato throughout the Northern Hemisphere, but little is known about the beetles origins as a pest. To determine the origins of pest populations of CPB, we sampled the beetle from uncultivated Solanum host plants in Mexico, and from pest and non-pest populations in the U.S. We used mtDNA and nuclear loci to examine three hypotheses on the origin of the pest lineages: 1) the pest beetles originated from Mexican populations, 2) the pest beetles descended from hybridization between previously divergent populations, or 3) the pest beetles descended from populations that are native to the Plains states in the United States. We examined patterns of genetic diversity among geographic regions in order to detect invasion-related genetic information. Mitochondrial haplotypes of non-pest populations from Mexico and southern Arizona differed substantially from beetles collected from the southern plains and potato fields in the U. S., indicating that beetles from Mexico and Arizona did not contribute to founding the pest lineages. Similar results were observed for AFLP and microsatellite data. In contrast, non-pest populations from the southern plains of Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Texas were genetically similar to U. S. pest populations, clearly indicating that they contributed to the founding of the pest lineages. Although some pest populations are less genetically diverse (e.g., Washington, Idaho), most of the pest populations do not show a significant reduction in genetic diversity compared to the plains populations in the U. S. In contrast to the colonization patterns typical of exotic pests, our analyses suggests that a large genetically heterogeneous beetle populations expanded onto potato from native Solanum hosts. As an endemic colonization of a novel host plant, this host range expansion may have contributed to the relatively abundant genetic diversity of contemporary populations, perhaps contributing to the rapid evolution of host range and insecticide resistance in this widely successful insect pest.
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