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Assessing moth migration and population structuring in Helicoverpa armigera (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) at the regional scale: example from the Darling Downs, Australia

Scott, K.D., Lawrence, N., Lange, C.L., Scott, L.J., Wilkinson, K.S., Merritt, M.A., Miles, M., Murray, D., Graham, G.C.
Journal of economic entomology 2005 v.98 no.6 pp. 2210-2219
temporal variation, geographical distribution, microsatellite repeats, migratory behavior, Helicoverpa armigera, gene flow, genetic variation, population structure, Australia
Analysis of gene flow and migration of Helicoverpa armigera (Hubner) in a major cropping region of Australia identified substantial genetic structuring, migration events, and significant population genotype changes over the 38-mo sample period from November 1999 to January 2003. Five highly variable microsatellite markers were used to analyze 916 individuals from 77 collections across 10 localities in the Darling Downs. The molecular data indicate that in some years (e.g., April 2002-March 2003), low levels of H. armigera migration and high differentiation between populations occurred, whereas in other years (e.g., April 2001-March 2002), there were higher levels of adult moth movement resulting in little local structuring of populations. Analysis of populations in other Australian cropping regions provided insight into the quantity and direction of immigration of H. armigera adults into the Darling Downs growing region of Australia. These data provide evidence adult moth movement differs from season to season, highlighting the importance of studies in groups such as the Lepidoptera extending over consecutive years, because short-term sampling may be misleading when population dynamics and migration change so significantly. This research demonstrates the importance of maintaining a coordinated insecticide resistance management strategy, because in some years H. armigera populations may be independent within a region and thus significantly influenced by local management practices; however, periods with high migration will occur and resistance may rapidly spread.