, Volume 86, Issue 1, pp 19-27

The molecular identification and genetic diversity of economically important wireworm species (Coleoptera: Elateridae) in Canada

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Click beetle larvae (wireworms) are significant crop pests in Europe and North America. In Canada, there are ~30 economically important species which are morphologically difficult to identify, but for which sequence data are lacking. Accurate knowledge of damage-causing species and the population genetics and phylogeography of elaterids will provide insight into their sustainable management. Here, we use interspecific variation in mitochondrial 16S rRNA as a robust method of identification, consider the intra- and interspecific genetic variation of some important Canadian wireworm pests and assess the genetic structure and isolation by distance for a re-emerging major pest species, Hypnoidus bicolor Eschscholtz. Wireworms were sampled from Canada and the USA, identified as morphospecies, and sequenced at the 16S rRNA region (294–442 bp). Within some species unusually high intraspecific genetic distances between samples suggested the possibility of cryptic wireworm species or misidentifications, though this was <1 % for most species. Phylogenetic analyses gave some indication of the likely identity of these ambiguous samples. There was a significant correlation between genetic and geographic distance and significant genetic structuring within and between H. bicolor populations, which appeared to be composed of two species comprising several haplotypes. These data provide a starting point for determining the distribution of damage-causing species throughout Canada. The inclusion of data from other nuclear and mitochondrial loci, and use of sequence data from known adult samples, would further aid identification and relationships of wireworm species.

Communicated by M. Traugott.