Research Article

Conservation Genetics

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 201-211

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

The genetic consequences of a demographic bottleneck in an introduced biological control insect

  • Steven J. FranksAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Science, Fordham University Email author 
  • , Paul D. PrattAffiliated withInvasive Plant Research Lab, United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service
  • , Neil D. TsutsuiAffiliated withDepartment of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of California


Population bottlenecks may result in the loss of genetic diversity, with potentially negative consequences for species of interest in conservation biology, including rare species, invasive species and biological control agents. We examined mtDNA sequence data and four variable microsatellite loci (SSRs) in the melaleuca psyllid Boreioglycaspis melaleucae, which was introduced from Australia to Florida as a biological control agent of the invasive plant Melaleuca quinquenervia. We sampled psyllids in the native and introduced ranges as well as individuals stored from the original founding population. There was a clear loss of mtDNA haplotype diversity, as well as a loss of rare microsatellite alleles, in the introduced range. However, there was little genetic differentiation between the home and introduced ranges, and no evidence for a genetic bottleneck based on an analysis of heterozygosity with the microsatellite markers. Overall, the data showed that the demographic bottleneck had a limited effect on the genetics of populations in the new range.


Boreioglycaspis melaleucae Genetic bottleneck Invasive species Melaleuca quinquenervia Population genetics Weed biological control