Biological Invasions

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 565–581 | Cite as

Signatures of genetic bottleneck and differentiation after the introduction of an exotic parasitoid for classical biological control

  • F. Zepeda-Paulo
  • E. Dion
  • B. Lavandero
  • F. Mahéo
  • Y. Outreman
  • J. C. Simon
  • C. C. Figueroa
Original Paper


As biological invasions, intentional introductions often result in a loss of genetic diversity in the new founder populations. In classical biological control programs, natural enemies introduced into novel environments are likely to suffer from population bottlenecks. Unlike invasive populations, individuals for biological control are typically kept in quarantine during several generations before being released in the field. This procedure reduces further the effective population size of the introduced populations, which thus increases the effects of inbreeding and genetic drift, resulting in a greater loss of genetic diversity. This study addresses the genetic consequences of the introduction of the parasitoid wasp Aphidius ervi, a successful biocontrol agent of important aphid target-pests in Chile. This was assessed by examining the genetic diversity and differentiation at nuclear and mitochondrial genetic markers in terms of (1) the magnitude of the genetic diversity loss after 38 years of the introduction of A. ervi, (2) the current level of genetic differentiation between Chilean introduced populations and putative native populations from France, and (3) the genetic relationships and magnitude of the genetic diversity loss between introduced populations of A. ervi in Chile compared to those introduced in North America. The results provide evidence that parasitoid populations suffered the effects of a moderate genetic bottleneck during the introduction, showing further a strong geographical genetic differentiation between populations in the natal and novel environments. In addition mtDNA sequences analysis showed evidence of a single main event of introduction in Chile, unlike the North American situation, where there is evidence for multiple introductions. The significance of the loss of genetic diversity during introductions related to the success of parasitoids as biocontrol agents in classical biological control programs is discussed.


Genetic bottleneck Classic biological control Biological invasions Aphid parasitoids Aphidius ervi 



The authors thank Cinthya Villegas, Marcos Dominguez and Sebastian Ortiz for their valuable support in laboratory and fieldwork. Thanks to Bernard Chaubet for his help on the species identification and sex determination of the parasitoids, and to Lucie Mieuzet for her help on the experimental part. The authors thank Heidi Connahs as well for the English corrections. This work was funded by FONDECYT 1110341 Grant to BL. FZP also thanks to CONICYT for a PhD fellowship, DID-UACh for a Ph.D. thesis Grant, and MECESUP AUS 0703 Grant to UACh for funding national and international internships.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10530_2015_1029_MOESM1_ESM.doc (182 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 182 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Zepeda-Paulo
    • 1
  • E. Dion
    • 3
  • B. Lavandero
    • 1
  • F. Mahéo
    • 3
  • Y. Outreman
    • 3
  • J. C. Simon
    • 3
  • C. C. Figueroa
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Instituto de Ciencias BiológicasUniversidad de TalcaTalcaChile
  2. 2.Millennium Nucleus Centre in Molecular Ecology and Evolutionary Applications in the AgroecosystemsUniversidad de TalcaTalcaChile
  3. 3.INRA, Institut de Génétique, Environnement et Protection des Plantes (UMR IGEPP)Le Rheu CedexFrance

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