Hybridization between a native and introduced predator of Adelgidae: An unintended result of classical biological control
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Biological Control 63: 359-369.
Hybridization between introduced biological control agents and native species has the potential to impact native biodiversity and pest control efforts. This study reports progress towards predicting the outcome of hybridization between two beetle species, the introduced Laricobius nigrinus Fender and the native L. rubidus LeConte. L. nigrinus is a predator from western North America introduced to hemlock stands in the eastern United States as a biological control of the hemlock woolly adelgid [Adelges tsugae Annand (Hemiptera: Adelgidae)]. Laricobius rubidus is a closely related eastern species that also feeds on A. tsugae but prefers pine adelgids (Pineus strobi Hartig) on white pine (Pinus strobus L.). Six microsatellite markers plus mitochondrial COI haplotypes were used to examine genetic structure of these two Laricobius species across North America. In their native ranges, major geographic features have impacted gene flow: the intermountain region in the West, and the Appalachian Mountains in the East. Analysis of 1229 individuals from adelgid-infested hemlock trees in release sites in the eastern United States found widespread hybridization with asymmetrical introgression towards L. nigrinus on hemlock. The ultimate outcome of hybridization could therefore be a complex mosaic of genetic introgression across the landscape, depending on the distribution of hemlock and pine. This study confirms the importance of evaluating the potential for introduced biological control agents to hybridize with their native relatives. This system also provides an excellent opportunity to improve our understanding of emerging hybrid zones by tracking its progress over time.
KeywordsHemlock woolly adelgid Adelges tsugae Laricobius nigrinus Laricobius rubidus Landscape genetics Non-target effects
Havill, N.P.; Davis, Gina; Mausel, David; Klein, Joanne; McDonald, Richard; Jones, Cera; Fischer, Melissa; Salom, Scott; Caccone, Adelgisa. 2012. Hybridization between a native and introduced predator of Adelgidae: An unintended result of classical biological control. Biological Control 63: 359-369. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocontrol.2012.08.001.