Two species of apple snails, Pomacea canaliculata and Pomacea maculata (formerly Pomacea insularum), have invaded many countries of East and Southeast Asia from their native range in South America. This study investigated the genetic structure of the two species invading these areas. Phylogenetic analysis based on sequences of the nuclear gene elongation factor 1-alpha (EF1α) detected two well-supported clades (Clade C and Clade M). Both P. canaliculata and P. maculata were represented in each clade. Some snails had both Clade C and Clade M EF1α sequences. These results suggest genetic exchange between snails of the two clades. A mating experiment between P. canaliculata with Clade C EF1α sequences and P. maculata with Clade M EF1α sequences resulted in viable F1 progeny under laboratory conditions. The genetic exchange was also inferred in some populations collected from Argentina, suggesting an existence of hybrid in the native range. Simple identification of EF1α types using a restriction enzyme, ApaLI, detected significant geographical structure of the EF1α variants in the invaded area. The divergent geographical structure could have resulted from either the founder effect or the bridgehead effect, although further genetic analysis is needed to clarify this. Average individual egg weight, which is an indicator of egg size, was higher in P. canaliculata than P. maculata in both field and laboratory reared samples, suggesting that some (probably most) P. canaliculata and P. maculata invading East and Southeast Asia still maintain species-specific populations.
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We thank K. Ito, M. Doi, A. Ozawa, Y. Yusa, K. Yoshida, K. Hidaka, S. Hoshino, A. Murakami, C. Moromizato, M. Daiku, T. Imbe, F. Nagumo, N. Horisue, A. Hoshikawa, T. Watanabe and K. Ichinose for collecting snails. We thank K. Hayes and R. Cowie for extensive help with the manuscript. And we thank all members of the Research Team for Insect and Nematode Management and the Research Team for Vegetables and Ornamental Crops in Southern Japan for their valuable suggestions regarding our study.
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Matsukura, K., Okuda, M., Cazzaniga, N.J. et al. Genetic exchange between two freshwater apple snails, Pomacea canaliculata and Pomacea maculata invading East and Southeast Asia. Biol Invasions 15, 2039–2048 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-013-0431-1
- Genetic exchange