An integral part to understanding the biology of an invasive species is determining its origin, particularly in pest species. As one of the oldest known invasive species, the goals of this study were to evaluate the evidence of a westward expansion of Hessian fly into North America, from a potential singular introduction event, and the population genetic structure of current populations. Levels of genetic diversity and population structure in the Hessian fly were compared across North America, Europe, North Africa, Western Asia, and New Zealand. Furthermore, Old World populations were evaluated as possible sources of introduction. We tested diversity and population structure by examining 18 microsatellite loci with coverage across all four Hessian fly chromosomes. Neither genetic diversity nor population genetic structure provided evidence of a westward movement from a single introduction in North America. Introduced populations in North America did not show identity or assignment to any Old World population, likely indicating a multiple introduction scenario with subsequent gene flow between populations. Diversity and selection were assessed on a chromosomal level, with no differences in diversity or selection between chromosomes or between native and introduced populations.


This is the publisher pdf of Morton PK, Schemerhorn BJ (2013) Population Structure and the Colonization Route of One of the Oldest North American Invasive Insects: Stories from the Worn Road of the Hessian Fly, Mayetiola destructor (Say). PLoS ONE 8(3): e59833 and is available at: 10.1371/journal.pone.0059833.

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