The newly introduced mosquito Aedes japonicus has expanded from its original range in Northeastern Asia to 29 US states (including Hawaii) plus Canada and northern Europe. Our objectives were to test an earlier hypothesis of multiple introductions of this species to the Northeastern US and evaluate putative temporal changes in genetic makeup. Using a panel of seven microsatellite loci, we confirmed the existence of two abundant genetic forms in specimens originally collected in 1999–2000 (FST value based on microsatellite data = 0.26) that matches the disjunctive distribution of mitochondrial haplotypes. To examine the distribution of the two genetic ‘types’ across Pennsylvania we created a fine-scale genetic map of Ae. japonicus using 439 specimens collected from 54 Pennsylvania counties in 2002–2003. We also made direct comparisons between collections in 1999–2000 and new collections made in 2004–2005 obtained from the same areas in the northeastern US. We observed that the strong association between mtDNA haplotype and microsatellite signature seen in 1999–2000 had weakened significantly by 2002 across Pennsylvania, a trend continued to some extent in 2004–2005 in PA, NJ, and NY, indicating that once easily distinguishable separate introductions are merging. The two expanding genetic forms create a complex correlation between spatial and genetic distances. The existence of multiple introductions would be obscured without sampling early and across time with highly polymorphic molecular markers. Our results provide a high-resolution analysis of the spatial and temporal dynamics of a newly introduced disease vector and argue that successive introductions may be a common pattern for invasive mosquitoes.
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