No clear effect of admixture between two European invading outbreaks of Diabrotica virgifera virgifera in natura

Gérald Bermond, Fanny Cavigliasso, Sophie Mallez, Joseph Spencer, Thomas Guillemaud

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In this study, we challenged the hypothesis that admixture may have had a positive impact in the context of the European invasion of the western corn rootworm (WCR), Diabrotica virgifera virgifera, LeConte. This beetle was introduced in Europe from the USA several times since the 1980's. The multiple introductions of this major pest of cultivated corn led to the formation of two major outbreaks in North Western (NW) Italy and in Central and South Eastern (CSE) Europe that eventually merged into a secondary contact zone where insects from both outbreaks interbreed. We collected about 600 insects from this contact zone and genotyped them using 13 microsatellite markers. Three types of information were obtained from the collected individuals: (i) their survival under starvation; (ii) their admixed status, determined through a Bayesian method of genetic clustering and (iii) their mating probability, studied via the detection, isolation and genotyping of sperm in female spermathecae. Twenty six % and 12% of the individuals were assigned to the NW Italy or the CSE Europe parental types, respectively, and 23% and 39% to the F1 and backcross hybrid types, respectively. Globally, our results do not reveal any significant impact of the admixed status on the mating probability and on the choice of mating partners. However the admixed status had a sex- and sampling site-dependent effect on survival in adults under starvation. In addition sex had an effect on survival, with mortality hazard about 3 times larger in males than in females. The consequences of these findings for the evolution of the admixture zone of northern Italy are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere106139
JournalPloS one
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 29 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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