Tracking the colonization patterns of an expanding forest pest and its natural enemies using molecular markers

LE STUDIUM Multidisciplinary Journal, 2017, 1, 37-42

Mauro Simonato1,3, Laure Sauné2, Carole Kerdelhué2, Emmanuelle Magnoux1, Jérôme Rousselet1


1 URZF ­INRA (Orléans), France;

2 CBGP­ INRA (Montferrier-sur-Lez), France

3 LE STUDIUM Institute for Advanced Studies, 45000 Orléans, France


Climate change is influencing population dynamics of several pest insect species leading to the expansion of their range. Range expansion can be driven also by human-mediated dispersal, with the establishment of new insect populations in suitable areas far from their native range. In this process, interactions between insects and their natural enemies can change due to new environmental conditions or to different rate of dispersion. In recent years, pine processionary moth (PPM), one of the main forest pests in the Mediterranean region, is expanding its range favored by both higher winter mean temperatures and accidental human-mediated transportation. Here we outlined the genetic structure of PPM along its range in France using 23 microsatellites loci, characterizing the main patterns of expansion of this species and identifying the source populations of new colonies in the expansion areas. These data can be employed for developing assignment tools to genetically characterize PPM for a quick identification of their origin area. Finally, we developed a new set of microsatellite primers for the PPM specialist egg-parasitoid in order to track its dispersion following its host in the expanding areas. The low genetic variability found, not directly useful for tracking parasitoid expansion, shed light on the role of bacterial endosymbionts in the population genetic structure of this species.


Global warming
Population genetics
Pest insects
Range expansion
Published by

LE STUDIUM Multidisciplinary Journal