Biological Invasions

, Volume 18, Issue 10, pp 2871–2881 | Cite as

Reduced population size can induce quick evolution of inbreeding depression in the invasive ladybird Harmonia axyridis

  • Guillaume J. M. Laugier
  • Gilles Le Moguédec
  • Wang Su
  • Ashraf Tayeh
  • Laurent Soldati
  • Bruno Serrate
  • Arnaud Estoup
  • Benoît Facon
Original Paper


Understanding biological invasion is currently one of the main scientific challenges for ecologists. The introduction process is crucial for the success of an invasion, especially when it involves a demographic bottleneck. A small introduced population is expected to face a higher risk of extinction before the first stage of invasion is complete if inbreeding depression, caused by the expression of deleterious alleles, is important. Changes in mating regimes or in population size can induce the evolution of deleterious allele frequencies, either by selection or by drift, possibly resulting in the purging or the fixation of such alleles within the population. The harlequin ladybird Harmonia axyridis became invasive on several continents following a scenario including at least one event of demographic bottleneck. Although native populations suffered from severe inbreeding depression, it was greatly reduced in invasive ones suggesting that deleterious alleles were purged during the invasion process. In this study, we performed an experiment designed to manipulate the effective population size of H. axyridis across successive generations to mimic contrasting introduction events. We used the measurement of two fitness-related phenotypic traits in order to test (1) if inbreeding depression can evolve at the time-scale of an invasion; and (2) if the changes in inbreeding depression following a bottleneck in laboratory conditions are compatible with the purging of deleterious alleles observed in this species. We found that two generations of very low population size are enough to induce a substantial change in inbreeding depression. Although the genetic changes mostly consisted in fixation of deleterious alleles, purging did also occur, sometimes simultaneously with fixation.


Inbreeding depression Bottleneck Purging Fixation Harmonia axyridis 

Supplementary material

10530_2016_1179_MOESM1_ESM.docx (9 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 9 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guillaume J. M. Laugier
    • 1
    • 2
  • Gilles Le Moguédec
    • 3
  • Wang Su
    • 4
  • Ashraf Tayeh
    • 1
  • Laurent Soldati
    • 1
  • Bruno Serrate
    • 1
  • Arnaud Estoup
    • 1
  • Benoît Facon
    • 1
  1. 1.Inra, CBGP, UMR 1062MontpellierFrance
  2. 2.Centro de Estudios Avanzados en Zonas ÁridasULSLa SerenaChile
  3. 3.Inra, AMAP, UMR 0931MontpellierFrance
  4. 4.Institute of Plant and Environment ProtectionBeijing Academy of Agriculture and Forestry SciencesBeijingChina

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