Original Paper

Biological Invasions

, Volume 13, Issue 12, pp 2869-2887

First online:

Genetic analysis of emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire) populations in Asia and North America

  • Alicia M. BrayAffiliated withDepartment of Entomology, Michigan State UniversitySchool of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences, Otis L. Floyd Nursery Research Center, Tennessee State University
  • , Leah S. BauerAffiliated withUSDA Forest Service Northern Research Station
  • , Therese M. PolandAffiliated withUSDA Forest Service Northern Research Station
  • , Robert A. HaackAffiliated withUSDA Forest Service Northern Research Station
  • , Anthony I. CognatoAffiliated withDepartment of Entomology, Michigan State University
  • , James J. SmithAffiliated withDepartment of Entomology, Michigan State UniversityLyman Briggs College, Michigan State University Email author 

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Emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire (Coleoptera: Buprestidae), is an invasive pest of North American ash (Fraxinus spp.) trees first discovered outside of its native range of northeastern Asia in 2002. EAB spread from its initial zone of discovery in the Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario metropolitan areas, in large part, from inadvertent human-assisted movement of infested ash materials. EAB infestations are now known in 15 US states and two Canadian provinces. The primary goal of this study was to use molecular markers to characterize the population genetic structure of EAB in its native and introduced range. This information may provide valuable insights on the geographic origin, potential host range, invasion potential, and additional biological control agents for ongoing management efforts of this destructive wood-boring beetle. EAB were collected from 17 localities in its native Asian range and from 7 localities in North America, and population structure analyzed using mtDNA gene sequences, AFLP fingerprints, and alleles at 2 microsatellite loci. Analysis of mtDNA cytochrome oxidase subunit I gene (COI; 439 bp) sequences revealed all North American individuals carry a common mtDNA haplotype also found in China and South Korea. Additional mtDNA haplotypes observed in China and South Korea differed from the common haplotype by 1–2 nucleotide substitutions and a single individual from Japan differed by 21 nucleotide changes (4.8%). Analysis using AFLP fingerprints (108 loci) indicated Asian populations were more highly variable, yet had less overall population structure, than the North American populations. North American populations appear most closely related to populations in our sample from the Chinese provinces of Hebei and Tianjin City. Further, population assignment tests assigned 88% of the individual beetles from North America to either Hebei or Tianjin City.


Agrilus planipennis Population genetics mtDNA AFLP Microsatellites Invasive species