Present address: Center for Population Biology, Department of Entomology, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA.
Relationships among native and introduced populations of the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) and the source of introduced populations
Article first published online: 21 DEC 2001
Volume 10, Issue 9, pages 2151–2161, September 2001
How to Cite
Tsutsui, N. D., Suarez, A. V., Holway, D. A. and Case, T. J. (2001), Relationships among native and introduced populations of the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) and the source of introduced populations. Molecular Ecology, 10: 2151–2161. doi: 10.1046/j.0962-1083.2001.01363.x
- Issue published online: 22 MAY 2002
- Article first published online: 21 DEC 2001
- Received 24 January 2001; revision received 4 June 2001; accepted 4 June 2001
- Argentine ants;
- biological control;
- biological invasions;
- cytochrome b;
- introduced species;
- Linepithema humile;
The Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) is a damaging invasive species that has become established in many Mediterranean-type ecosystems worldwide. To identify likely sources of introduced populations we examined the relationships among native Linepithema populations from Argentina and Brazil and introduced populations of L. humile using mitochondrial cytochrome b sequence data and nuclear microsatellite allele frequencies. The mitochondrial phylogeny revealed that the populations in Brazil were only distantly related to both the introduced populations and the native populations in Argentina, and confirmed that populations in Brazil, previously identified as L. humile, are likely a different species. The microsatellite-based analysis provided resolution among native and introduced populations of L. humile that could not be resolved using the mitochondrial sequences. In the native range, colonies that were geographically close to one another tended to be genetically similar, whereas more distant colonies were genetically different. Most samples from the introduced range were genetically similar, although some exceptions were noted. Most introduced populations were similar to native populations from the southern Rio Parana and were particularly similar to a population from Rosario, Argentina. These findings implicate populations from the southern Rio Parana as the most likely source of introduced populations. Moreover, these data suggest that current efforts to identify natural enemies of the Argentine ant for biological control should focus on native populations in the southern Rio Parana watershed.