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The role of environment in shaping the genetic diversity of the subalpine mosquito, Aedes rusticus (Diptera, Culicidae)


J. C. Meyran. Fax: (33) 04 76 51 44 63; E-mail:


The relative involvement of larval dietary tolerance to the leaf-litter toxic polyphenols in shaping population genetic structure of the subalpine mosquito Aedes rusticus was examined. This was compared with other parameters such as geographical range, type of vegetation surrounding the breeding site, and occurrence of annual larvicidal treatments. Population genetic structure was analysed at 10 presumed neutral polymorphic isoenzyme loci. Toxicological comparisons involved standard bioassays performed on larvae fed on toxic decomposed leaf litter. Significant overall genetic differentiation was observed among the 22 studied populations and within the five defined geographical groups. Analysis of molecular variance revealed an absence of relation between genetic and environmental parameters, genetic variance being essentially found within populations. This suggested that the larval dietary tolerance to the toxic leaf litter and the other studied parameters poorly influence population genetic structure. The local adaptation of subalpine mosquito populations to the surrounding vegetation thus appears as a labile trait. Such a dynamic adaptation is also suggested by the correlation between geographical and toxicological distances and the correlation between dietary tolerance to the leaf-litter toxic polyphenols and annual larvicidal treatments.