Publication Details

World distribution of female flight and genetic variation in Lymantria dispar (Lepidoptera: Lymantriidae)

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Keena, M.A.; Cote, M.-J.; Grinberg, P.S.; Wallner, W.E.

Year Published



Environmental Entomology. 37(3): 636-649.


Female gypsy moths, Lymantria dispar L., from 46 geographic strains were evaluated for flight capability and related traits. Males from 31 of the same strains were evaluated for genetic diversity using two polymorphic cytochrome oxidase I mitochondrial DNA restriction sites, the nuclear FS1 marker, and four microsatellite loci. Females capable of strong directed flight were found in strains that originated from Asia, Siberia, and the northeastern parts of Europe, but flight capability was not fixed in most strains. No flight-capable females were found in strains from the United States or southern and western Europe. Wing size and musculature were shown to correlate with flight capability and potentially could be used in predicting female flight capability. The mtDNA haplotypes broadly separated the gypsy moth strains into three groups: North American, European/Siberian, and Asian. Specific microsatellite or FS1 alleles were only fixed in a few strains, and there was a gradual increase in the frequency of alleles dominant in Asia at both the nuclear and microsatellite loci moving geographically from west to east. When all the genetic marker information was used, 94% of the individuals were accurately assigned to their broad geographic group of origin (North American, European, Siberian, and Asian), but female flight capability could not be predicted accurately. This suggests that gene flow or barriers to it are important in determining the current distribution of flight-capable females and shows the need for added markers when trying to predict female flight capability in introduced populations, especially when a European origin is suspected.


female flight capability; Lymantria dispar; gypsy moth; dispersal; genetic variation; asian gypsy moth


Keena, M.A.; Cote, M.-J.; Grinberg, P.S.; Wallner, W.E. 2008. World distribution of female flight and genetic variation in Lymantria dispar (Lepidoptera: Lymantriidae). Environmental Entomology. 37(3): 636-649.[636:wdoffa];2.

Last updated on: September 30, 2009