Main content area

Assessment of genetic structuring in the Lygodium fern moths Austromusotima camptozonale and Neomusotima conspurcatalis in their native range: implications for biological control

McCulloch, Graham A., Makinson, Jeffrey R., Zonneveld, Ryan, Purcell, Matthew F., Raghu, S., Walter, Gimme H.
Biological control 2018 v.121 pp. 8-13
Lygodium microphyllum, biological control, biological control agents, ferns and fern allies, genetic variation, haplotypes, mitochondria, monophyly, moths, phylogeography, provenance, Florida, Queensland
Assessing the genetic diversity and structuring of potential biological control agents in their native range can be a vital step in developing efficient biological control programs. These assessments, however, are not routinely conducted prior to release of agents. Assessments of these variables after releases have been made may also provide valuable insights into why some agents fail to establish in the introduced range. We therefore examined, within their native distribution, the phylogeographic structuring of two biological control agents previously released for the control of Lygodium microphyllum in Florida, USA: Neomusotima conspurcatalis (which has successfully established) and Austromusotima camptozonale (which has failed to establish). Strong regional genetic structuring was detected within N. conspurcatalis, with three distinct geographical clades identified. The Australian populations were, surprisingly, not recovered as monophyletic. In A. camptozonale, by contrast, regional genetic structuring was far less clear. Seven distinct haplotypes were identified from Cape York Peninsula of northern Queensland, Australia (the putative geographic origin of the Florida L. microphyllum). The moths released in Florida were from southern Queensland, with material from this region having a unique haplotype not present in any of the Cape York Peninsula material. Further testing is required to confirm the species status of the distinct mitochondrial lineages in both A. camptozonale and N. conspurcatalis, and to assess whether any of these lineages are better adapted and more damaging to the Florida L. microphyllum genotype than the lineages previously released.