Identification of winter moth (Operophtera brumata) refugia in North Africa and the Italian Peninsula during the last glacial maximum
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Ecology and Evolution
Numerous studies have shown that the genetic diversity of species inhabiting temperate regions has been shaped by changes in their distributions during the Quaternary climatic oscillations. For some species, the genetic distinctness of isolated populations is maintained during secondary contact, while for others, admixture is frequently observed. For the winter moth (Operophtera brumata), an important defoliator of oak forests across Europe and northern Africa, we previously determined that contemporary populations correspond to genetic diversity obtained during the last glacial maximum (LGM) through the use of refugia in the Iberian and Aegean peninsulas, and to a lesser extent the Caucasus region. Missing from this sampling were populations from the Italian peninsula and from North Africa, both regions known to have played important roles as glacial refugia for other species. Therefore, we genotyped field-collected winter moth individuals from southern Italy and northwestern Tunisia—the latter a region where severe oak forest defoliation by winter moth has recently been reported—using polymorphic microsatellite. We reconstructed the genetic relationships of these populations in comparison to moths previously sampled from the Iberian and Aegean peninsulas, the Caucasus region, and western Europe using genetic distance, Bayesian clustering, and approximate Bayesian computation (ABC) methods. Our results indicate that both the southern Italian and the Tunisian populations are genetically distinct from other sampled populations, and likely originated in their respective refugium during the LGM after diverging from a population that eventually settled in the Iberian refugium. These suggest that winter moth populations persisted in at least five Mediterranean LGM refugia. Finally, we comment that outbreaks by winter moth in northwestern Tunisia are not the result of a recent introduction of a nonnative species, but rather are most likely due to land use or environmental changes.
Keywordsapproximate Bayesian computation geometridae microsatellites North African region phylogeography population genetics postglacial recolonization
Andersen, Jeremy C.; Havill, Nathan P.; Mannai, Yaussra; Ezzine, Olfa; Dhahri, Samir; Ben Jamâa, Mohamed Lahbib; Caccone, Adalgisa; Elkinton, Joseph S. 2019. Identification of winter moth (Operophtera brumata) refugia in North Africa and the Italian Peninsula during the last glacial maximum. Ecology and Evolution. 9(24): 13931-13941. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.5830.