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Heredity (Edinb). 2006 Jul;97(1):38-45. Epub 2006 May 10.

Comparative population genetic study of two oligophagous insects associated with the same hosts.

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INRA, Centre de Bordeaux-Pierroton, UMR BIOGECO, Equipe Entomologie et Biodiversité, 69 route d'Arcachon, F-33612 Cestas cedex, France.


A parallel study of the genetic structure of two oligophagous species associated with the same hosts was conducted to determine the main factors shaping the distribution of genetic diversity. The bark beetle Tomicus piniperda and the pine processionary moth (PPM) Thaumetopoea pityocampa are both associated with the genus Pinus and belong to different guilds (xylophagous vs defoliating species). The PPM is an ectophagous species that feeds on the needles of living trees, whereas T. piniperda is endophagous and bores galleries in the inner bark of weakened trees. Both species were sampled in the main regions of France, and their genetic structure was assessed after genotyping with five microsatellite markers. Populations of the PPM were significantly structured. A pattern of isolation by distance was found when distances were calculated as bypassing the Massif Central, whereas no such pattern could be found with raw geographic distances. On the contrary, most populations of T. piniperda were not differentiated. No effect of host species could be detected in either of the two species. We conclude that the two taxa have contrasting effective dispersal rates per generation, and we hypothesize that this reflects the different selection pressures acting on individual fitness via different strategies of host use.

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