Biological Invasions

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 123–136 | Cite as

European bridgehead effect in the worldwide invasion of the obscure mealybug

  • Margarita C. G. Correa
  • Ferran PaleroEmail author
  • Thibaut Malausa
  • Didier Crochard
  • Tania Zaviezo
  • Eric Lombaert
Original Paper


Identifying the main routes followed by an invasive species has significant management implications and may help to understand its colonization process. The obscure mealybug, Pseudococcus viburni (Signoret, 1875), is an important agricultural pest native to South America that infests fruit crops worldwide. The genetic diversity and structure of P. viburni samples collected around the globe was investigated here, and the most likely invasion routes were inferred using state-of-the-art population genetics methods. The results obtained include: (1) identification of low intrapopulation genetic diversity (mean number of alleles per locus below 4 and heterozygosity below 50%) and high genetic differentiation among populations (average FST = 0.29); (2) strong evidence of an initial colonization from South America towards Europe and secondary introductions from Europe towards other continents, (3) evidence of population structure within Europe and, (4) support for introductions from North America and Europe to South Africa. These results improve our understanding of the worldwide distribution and invasion pathways of P. viburni and suggest further exploring South America as the best source for potential biological control agents.


Biological invasion Agricultural pest Likelihood assignment Microsatellites ABC methods 



Thanks are due to the reviewers for useful suggestions that helped us to improve significantly the manuscript. We would like to thank M. Botton, J. Charles, B. Kaydan, V. Pacheco, M. Sandanayaka and G. Watson for sending us P. viburni samples. We also thank E. Poulin (Universidad de Chile) and E. Fuentes-Contreras (Universidad de Talca) for comments on a previous version of this manuscript. MCG Correa received financial support from Chile CONICYT Doctoral fellowship #21110864 and CONICYT “Tesis en la Industria” #7812110011 and Fondecyt #1170943. This research was also funded by the European Union (FP7 grants KBBE “PURE” #265865, Marie-Curie IRSES “IPRABIO” #269196, and Marie-Curie IAPP “COLBICS” #324475), by the Grant CHALLENGEN (CTM2013-48163) from the Spanish Government and a post-doctoral contract funded by the Beatriu de Pinos Programme of the Generalitat de Catalunya (2014-BPB-00038).

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 1119 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Facultad de Agronomía e Ingeniería ForestalPontificia Universidad Católica de ChileSantiagoChile
  2. 2.INRA, CNRS, ISAUniversité Côte d’AzurSophia AntipolisFrance
  3. 3.Centre for Molecular and Functional Ecology in AgroecosystemsUniversidad de TalcaTalcaChile
  4. 4.Centre d’Estudis Avançats de Blanes (CEAB-CSIC)BlanesSpain

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