Lack of genetic differentiation in aggressive and secondary bark beetles (Coleoptera: Curculionidae, Scolytinae) from Arizona

Christopher J Allender, Karen M Clancy, Tom E Degomez, Joel D McMillin, Scott A Woolbright, Paul Keim, David M Wagner
Environmental Entomology 2008, 37 (3): 817-24
Bark beetles (Coleoptera: Curculionidae, Scolytinae) play an important role as disturbance agents in ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa Douglas ex Lawson) forests of Arizona. However, from 2001 to 2003, elevated bark beetle activity caused unprecedented levels of ponderosa pine mortality. A better understanding of the population structure of these species will facilitate analysis of their dispersal patterns and improve management strategies. Here, we use fluorescently labeled amplified fragment length polymorphism (fAFLP) analysis to resolve genetic variation among and within sampling locations in northcentral Arizona of Ips pini (Say), Dendroctonus brevicomis LeConte, and D. frontalis Zimmermann. We generated genetic fingerprints for >500 beetle specimens and analyzed genetic diversity. For all species, gene flow estimates among sampling locations were high, and significant population subdivision was not discernible across a large portion of ponderosa pine forests in Arizona. However, a weak relationship was detected with I. pini population structure and elevation. Because of the lack of genetic differentiation detected throughout the large study area, our findings suggest these insects are capable of long distance dispersal and exhibit a high degree of gene flow across a broad region. We conclude that our results are consistent with strong dispersal patterns and large population sizes of all three species.

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