Thesis

Locating the geographical origin of Lobesia botrana (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae): a recent invasive pest to the Americas

The European grapevine moth (EGVM), Lobesia botrana (Denis & Schiffermu_ller) is a major pest of grapevines in the Palearctic ecozone. In 2008, the moth was reported in Chile and subsequently in California in 2009, representing the first establishments in the Americas. To try to ascertain the geographical source of the invasive population in California, 13 populations originating in Europe and the Middle East were compared to populations from the Americas using 686 bp of the mitochondrial CO1 gene and 369 bp of the ribosomal ITS2 intron and phylogenetic techniques. Similar genetics, among and within sample populations, gave no genetic structure and invasive sources could not be determined. Genetic homogeneity indicates global populations feeding on grapes are not composed of alternative genetic races, likely due to high population connectivity and interbreeding throughout the Mediterranean range. Data support that established populations in the Americas are the same as those homogenous populations in the Old World and more sensitive molecular techniques are needed to create definite molecular structure.

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