• colonization;
  • invasion pathway;
  • isolation by distance;
  • long-distance dispersal;
  • microsatellites;
  • pest management;
  • planthopper


The use of a multidisciplinary approach is becoming increasingly important when developing management strategies that mitigate the economic and biological costs associated with invasive pests. A framework of simulated dispersal is combined with life-history information and analyses of population genetic structure to investigate the invasion dynamics of a plant disease vector, the island sugarcane planthopper (Eumetopina flavipes), through an archipelago of significant Australian quarantine concern. Analysis of eight microsatellite loci from 648 individuals suggests that frequent, wind-assisted immigration from multiple sources in Papua New Guinea contributes significantly to repeated colonization of far northern islands. However, intermittent wind-assisted immigration better explains patterns of genetic diversity and structure in the southern islands and on the tip of mainland Australia. Significant population structuring associated with the presence of clusters of highly related individuals results from breeding in-situ following colonization, with little postestablishment movement. Results also suggest that less important secondary movements occur between islands; these appear to be human mediated and restricted by quarantine zones. Control of the planthopper may be very difficult on islands close to Papua New Guinea given the apparent propensity for multiple invasion, but may be achievable further south where local populations appear highly independent and isolated.