Ecological Research

, Volume 23, Issue 5, pp 883–888 | Cite as

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

  • Masanori Hirata
  • Osamu Hasegawa
  • Takahiro Toita
  • Seigo Higashi
Original Article


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.


Argentine ant Invasive ant Microsatellite DNA Linepithema humile Unicoloniality 



We would like to express our sincere thanks to Dr. K. Ogata, Kyusyu University, for identification of materials, Dr. F. Ito, Kagawa University, for providing us with information from the study sites, Dr. J. S. Pedersen, University of Copenhagen, for providing us with the molecular information, and Mr. A. Abe, Meijo University, for sampling. We also thank the Ministry of the Environment for providing some materials. This research was supported by the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture, Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (A), 17207003, 2005.


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Copyright information

© The Ecological Society of Japan 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Masanori Hirata
    • 1
  • Osamu Hasegawa
    • 1
  • Takahiro Toita
    • 1
  • Seigo Higashi
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate School of Environmental Earth ScienceHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan

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