, Volume 23, Issue 5, pp 883-888
Date: 08 Jan 2008

Genetic relationships among populations of the Argentine ant Linepithema humile introduced into Japan

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Since some colonies of Argentine ant Linepithema humile were discovered in Japan in 1993, populations of this invasive alien ant species have been expanding their distribution. To resolve the number of invasions and the genetic structure in the early stages of introduction, we inferred the genetic structure and relationships among colonies from eight localities, from analyses of eight nuclear microsatellite DNA markers. F ST analysis, principal component analysis and assignment test showed that at least three highly genetically differentiated groups of Argentine ants are present in Japan. Populations from Hiroshima Bay were grouped together (Hiroshima, Hatsukaichi, Otake, Iwakuni Central and Iwakuni Kuroiso), while those from Kobe and Yanai were both genetically distant from each other and from the Hiroshima Bay group. Hatsukaichi and Kobe are international seaports, suggesting that the by-ship invasion occurred at least twice. The invasion route of the Yanai population is unknown at this moment. The Aichi population was genetically distant from that of the Hiroshima Bay group by the difference in allele frequencies, and it was plausible that the Aichi population was introduced from the Hiroshima Bay group by human-mediated jump dispersal.