Cryptic genetic variation in an inbreeding and cosmopolitan pest, Xylosandrus crassiusculus, revealed using ddRADseq


Each year new exotic species are transported across the world through global commerce, causing considerable economic and ecological damage. An important component of managing invasion pathways is to identify source populations. Some of the most widespread exotic species are haplodiploid ambrosia beetles. The ability to mate with siblings (inbreed) and their transportable food source (symbiotic fungus) have enabled them to colonize most of the world and become pests of plant nurseries, lumber, and forests. One of the fastest spreading ambrosia beetles is Xylosandrus crassiusculus. In order to discover the source populations of this globally invasive species, track its movement around the world, and test biogeographical scenarios, we combined restriction site‐associated DNA sequencing (RADseq) with comprehensive sampling across the species native and introduced range. From 1,365 genotyped SNP loci across 198 individuals, we determined that in its native range, X. crassiusculus is comprised of a population in Southeast Asia that includes mainland China, Thailand, and Taiwan, and a second island population in Japan. North America and Central America were colonized from the island populations, while Africa and Oceania were colonized from the mainland Asia, and Hawaii was colonized by both populations. Populations of X. crassiusculus in North America were genetically diverse and highly structured, suggesting (1) numerous, repeated introductions; (2) introduction of a large founding population; or (3) both scenarios with higher than expected outcrossing. X. crassiusculus, other wood‐boring insects, and indeed many other pests with unusual genetic structure continue to spread around the world. We show that contemporary genetic methods offer a powerful tool for understanding and preventing pathways of future biosecurity threats.

Ecology and Evolution