Eur. J. Entomol. 107 (3): 299-304, 2010 | 10.14411/eje.2010.038

The effect of host plant and isolation on the genetic structure of phytophagous insects: A preliminary study on a bruchid beetle

Gwendal RESTOUX*,1,2, Martine HOSSAERT-MCKEY*,2, Betty BENREY3, Nadir ALVAREZ3, 4,**
1 ESE-UMR CNRS-UPS-ENGREF 8079, University Paris Sud, 91405 Orsay cedex, France
2 CEFE-CNRS, 1919 route de Mende, 34293 Montpellier Cedex 5, France
3 Evol-lab, University Neuchâtel, 11 E.-Argand, CH-2007 Neuchâtel, Switzerland
4 Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Lausanne, Biophore building, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland

Genetic differentiation is a consequence of the combination of drift and restriction in gene flow between populations due to barriers to dispersal, or selection against individuals resulting from inter-population matings. In phytophagous insects, local adaptation to different kinds of host plants can sometimes lead to reproductive isolation and thus to genetic structuring, or even to speciation. Acanthoscelides obtectus Say is a bean bruchid specialized on beans of the Phaseolus vulgaris group, attacking both wild and domesticated forms of P. vulgaris and P. coccineus. This study reveals that the genetic structure of populations of this bruchid is explained mainly by their geographical location and is not related to a particular kind (wild or domesticated) of bean. In contrast, the species of bean might have led, to some extent, to genetic structuring in these bruchids, although our sampling is too limited to address such process unambiguously. If confirmed, it would corroborate preliminary results found for the parasitoid species that attack Acanthoscelides species, which might show a genetic structure depending on the species of host plant.

Keywords: Phytophagous insects, Bruchidae, Acanthoscelides, spatial genetic structure, gene flow, adaptation

Received: October 26, 2009; Accepted: March 29, 2010; Published: July 20, 2010

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