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Felix Sperling

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Research in my lab encompasses processes of evolution ranging from the diversification of major insect lineages to the formation of species boundaries. Our work on patterns of arthropod biodiversity also provides basic training for taxonomists at a time when their numbers are declining but their expertise is more important than ever before. In addition to extensive use of DNA sequences, we use morphological data and phylogenetic analysis, complemented by internet-accessible keys and databases. We are building a foundation for understanding phenomena like plant-insect coevolution, the historical biogeography of endangered communities, and the interaction of genomic architecture with speciation. We also contribute to faunal inventories that are designed to support conservation, agriculture and forestry by facilitating more responsible use of natural resources.

Felix Sperling

Department of Biological Sciences

Room: ES 208B, Biological Sciences
Phone: (780) 492-3991
Fax: (780) 492-9234
Curriculum Vitae

  • Professor, Biological Sciences

Subject areas and related deposits

  • Allozyme survery

    • Allozyme survey and relationships of Limnoporus Stal species (Heteroptera: Gerridae)

      Five species of Limnoporus Stål (L. canaliculatus [Say], L. dissortis [Drake and Harris], L. nearcticus [Kelton], L. notabilis [Drake and Hottes], and L. rufoscutellatus [Latreille]) were each sampled at 20 electrophoretic loci. Twofold differences among species in mean heterozygosity appear to be unrelated to presence of wing dimorphism. Low heterozygosity in some populations within species may reflect geographic isolation. There were substantial differences in allele frequency among, but not within, species. Limnoporus rufoscutellatus from western Europe and L. nearcticus from Alaska were the most similar pair of species, with a Nei’s standard genetic identity that is generally found only between populations of the same species. Limnoporus canaliculatus was the most divergent species, and the relationship among L. dissortis, L. notabilis, and the L. rufoscutellatus – L. nearcticus pair is resolved as a trichotomy.

  • Argyrotaenia citrana

  • Burgdorferi sensu-stricto

    • Lyme borreliosis in Canada: Biological diversity and diagnostic complexity from an entomological perspective

      Lyme borreliosis (LB), also known as Lyme disease, is emerging as a serious tick-borne illness across Canada. More than three decades of research on LB in North America and Europe have provided a large, complex body of research involving well-documented difficulties at several levels. However, entomologists are well Situated to contribute to resolving some of these challenges. The central pathogen in LB, the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi Johnson et al., includes numerous genospecies and strains that are associated with different disease symptoms and distributions. The primary vectors of LB are ticks of various Ixodes Latreille species (Acari: Ixodida: Ixodidae), but questions linger concerning the status of a number of other arthropods that may be infected with B. burgdorferi but do not transmit it biologically. A variety of vertebrates may serve as reservoirs for LB, but differences in their ability to transmit LB are not well understood at the community level. Persistent cystic forms of and immune-system evasion by B. burgdorferi contribute to extraordinary challenges in diagnosing LB. Multiple trade-offs constrain the effectiveness of assays like ELISA, Western blot, polymerase chain reaction, and microscopic visualization of the spirochetes. Consequently, opportunities abound for entomologists to contribute to documenting the diversity of the players and their interactions in this devilishly complex disease.

  • Cactoblastis cactorum

    • Tracing an Invasion : Phylogeography of Cactoblastis cactorum ( Lepidoptera : Pyralidae ) in the United States Based on Mitochondrial DNA

      Abstract: The adventive cactus moth Cactoblastis cactorum (Berg) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), a widely used biological control agent for Opuntia Mill. cacti, was detected in Florida in 1989. Since then, it has spread along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of southeastern United States, threatening native Opuntia populations. We examined the phylogeography of 20 C. cactorum populations from Australia, South Africa, Hawaii, the Caribbean, Mexico, and the southeastern United States based on 769 bp of cytochrome oxidase subunit 1. Five distinct haplotypes were discovered, three of which occur in the United States. Cactoblastis cactorum in the United States falls into two distinct lineages: a western haplotype along the Gulf Coast and an eastern lineage with two haplotypes along the Atlantic Coast, with one of the eastern haplotypes identified as occurring at a single locality on the Gulf Coast. The two lineages have nontrivial genetic divergence (0.5%), and both are more closely related to populations outside the United States than they are to each other. This leads Lis to conclude that C. cactorum has been introduced to the United States at least twice. The isolated eastern haplotype on the Gulf Coast may indicate that C. cactorum has been introduced a third time, either from the Atlantic Coast or from outside the United States. Evidence from analysis of haplotypes and other information indicates that dispersal by commercial import action and human transport may be more important than flight ranges of ovipositing females for determining long range expansion of the species. Interestingly, the east-west pattern mirrors other coastal species distributions that have been interpreted as being due to Pleistocene vicariance.

  • Character evolution

    • Molecular phylogeny, historical biogeography, and divergence time estimates for swallowtail butterflies of the genus Papilio (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae)

      Swallowtail butterflies are recognized as model organisms in ecology, evolutionary biology, genetics, and conservation biology but present numerous unresolved phylogenetic problems. We inferred phylogenetic relationships for 51 of about 205 species of the genus Papilio (sensu lato) from 3.3-Kilobase (kb) sequences of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA (2.3 kb of cytochrome oxidases I and II and 1.0 kb of elongation factor 1α). Congruent phylogenetic trees were recovered within Papilio from analyses of combined data using maximum likelihood, Bayesian analysis, and maximum parsimony bootstrap consensus. Several disagreements with the traditional classification of Papilio were found. Five major previously hypothesized subdivisions within Papilio were well supported: Heraclides, Pterourus, Chilasa, Papilio (sensu stricto), and Eleppone. Further studies are required to clarify relationships within traditional “Princeps,” which was paraphyletic. Several biologically interesting characteristics of Papilio appear to have polyphyletic origins, including mimetic adults, larval host associations, and larval morphology. Early diversification within Papilio is estimated at 55–65 million years ago based on a combination of biogeographic time constraints rather than fossils. This divergence time suggests that Papilio has slower apparent substitution rates than do Drosophila and fig-pollinating wasps and/or divergences corrected using best-fit substitution models are still being consistently underestimated. The amount of sequence divergence between Papilio subdivisions is equivalent to divergences between genera in other tribes of the Papilionidae, and between genera of moths of the noctuid subfamily Heliothinae.

  • Chrysomya albiceps

  • Data partitioning

    • A partitioned likelihood analysis of swallowtail butterfly phylogeny (Lepidoptera:Papilionidae)

      Although it is widely agreed that data from multiple sources are necessary to confidently resolve phylogenetic relationships, procedures for accommodating and incorporating heterogeneity in such data remain underdeveloped.We explored the use of partitioned, model-based analyses of heterogeneous molecular data in the context of a phylogenetic study of swallowtail butterflies (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae). Despite substantial basic and applied study, phylogenetic relationships among the major lineages of this prominent group remain contentious. We sequenced 3.3 kb of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA (2.3 kb of cytochrome oxidase I and II and 1.0 kb of elongation factor-1®, respectively) from 22 swallowtails, including representatives of Baroniinae, Parnassiinae, and Papilioninae, and from several moth and butterfly outgroups. Using parsimony, we encountered considerable difficulty in resolving the deepest splits among these taxa. We therefore chose two outgroups with undisputed relationships to each other and to Papilionidae and undertook detailed likelihood analyses of alternative topologies. Following from previous studies that have demonstrated substantial heterogeneity in the evolutionary dynamics among process partitions of these genes, we estimated evolutionary parameters separately for gene-based and codon-based partitions. These values were then used as the basis for examining the likelihoods of possible resolutions and rootings under several partitioned and unpartitioned likelihood models. Partitioned models gave markedly better fits to the data than did unpartitioned models and supported different topologies. However, the most likely topology varied from model to model. The most likely ingroup topology under the best-fitting, six-partition GTR C 0 model favors a paraphyletic Parnassiinae. However, when examining the likelihoods of alternative rootings of this tree relative to rootings of the classical hypothesis, two rootings of the latter emerge as most likely. Of these two, themost likely rooting is within the Papilioninae, although a rooting between Baronia and the remaining Papilionidae is only nonsignificantly less likely. [Data partitioning; heterogeneity; likelihood; process partitions.]

  • Dermacentor albipictus

    • Deep mitochondrial DNA lineage divergences within Alberta populations of Dermacentor albipictus (Acari: Ixodidae) do not indicate distinct species

      The winter tick Dermacentor albipictus (Packard) has a single-host life cycle that allows it to reach severe infestation levels on ungulates, particularly moose, Genotypic variation within these and related ticks has been a source of taxonomic confusion, although the continuity in their morphology and life history has generally been interpreted as indicating the existence of a single species, To further investigate this variation, we sequenced regions of two mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) genes (COI and 16S rDNA), two nuclear genes (lysozyme and ITS-2), and two bacterial markers from Francisella-like endosymbionts found in these ticks (eubacterial mtDNA 16S rRNA and a homolog of Francisella tularensis [Dorofe'ev] 17-kDa lipoprotein). We sampled 42 D. albipictus individuals from whitetail and mule deer culled from three populations in east-central Alberta, as well as four D. albipictus and two Dermacentor variabilis (Say) from other locations, We then compared DNA sequence variation between the genes and related this to variation in the morphology of spiracle plates, Both mtDNA regions indicated two deeply diverged lineages (mean difference of 7.1% for COI and 4.5% for 16S) that would normally be considered diagnostic of distinct species in DNA barcoding studies. However, very little divergence was revealed by nuclear gene sequences, bacterial endosymbionts, and morphometric analyses, and any variation that did occur in these markers was not congruent with mtDNA divergences. We conclude that the sampled populations in Alberta represent a single species, D. albipictus, and reiterate the importance of integrative approaches in species delimitation.

  • Dioryctria

    • Identification of Dioryctria (Lepidoptera : Pyralidae) in a seed orchard at Chico, California

      Abstract: Species of Dioryctria Zeller (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) are important pests of conifers, particularly in seed orchards, and accurate species identification is needed for effective monitoring and control. Variable forewing morphology and lack of species-specific genitalic features hinder identification, prompting the search for additional diagnostic characters. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences from the cytochrome c oxidase I and U genes (COI and COII) were obtained from specimens collected at lights, pheromone traps, and host plants in the Pacific Northwest, focusing on a U.S. Forest Service seed orchard in Chico, CA. A 475-bp fragment of COI was used to identify eight distinct genetic lineages from 180 Dioryctria specimens, and these were identified as eight described species. Comparisons among mtDNA variation, adult morphology, larval host association, and pheromone attraction were used to assign individuals to species groups and to identify diagnostic characters for species identification. A 2.3-kb fragment of COI-COII was sequenced for 14 specimens to increase resolution of phylogenetic relationships. Species groups were well resolved using both the 475-bp and "DNA barcode" subsets of the 2.3-kb sequences, with the 475-bp fragment generally showing lower divergences. The zimmermani and ponderosae species groups were sister groups and had similar male genitalic morphology and larval feeding habits. The pentictonella group was sister to the zimmerinani + ponderosae group clade, and all species have raised scales and a Pinus sp. larval host (where known). Combining molecular characters with morphological and behavioral characters improved identification of Dioryctria species and supported previous species group relationships.

    • Systematics of the Dioryctria abietella Species Group ( Lepidoptera : Pyralidae ) Based on Mitochondrial DNA

      Abstract: Coneworms of the genus Dioryctria Zeller include several Serious pests of conifer seeds that are notoriously difficult to distinguish as species. We surveyed mitochondrial DNA variation within the abietella species group by sequencing 451 bp of cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI) and 572 bp of cytochrome oxidase subunit 2 (COII) genes from 64 individuals of six major species in the group. In addition to examining phylogenetic relationships within European members of the group, the study focused on the two most damaging species, D. abietivorella Grote from North America and D. abietella Denis & Schiffermuller front Europe and Asia, which have been considered taxonomically synonymous in the past. To detect different levels of divergence, we extensively sampled in seed Orchards and natural forests for D. abietella on different hosts. Maximum parsimony and maximum likelihood analyses confirmed the monophyly of the abietella Species group and its separation into three clades. The grouping of North American species (clade A) received strong support in both analyses, whereas relationships between clade A and the two European clades were weakly Supported. Dioryctria simplicella Heinemann could not be unambiguously separated front D. abietella populations. The diverse haplotypes observed in the network analysis conducted with eight populations of polyphagous D. abietella suggested the presence of two distinct lineages in France.

  • DNA

    • PCR-based methods for identification of two Eteobalea species (Lepidoptera: Cosmopterigidae) used as biocontrol agents of weedy Linaria species (Scrophulariaceae)

      Two European species of the genus Eleobalea Hodges are being tested as classical biological control agents for toadflax (Linaria spp.) in Canada. Permits for the release of these species apply only to an Italian population of E. serratella Treitschke and a Serbian population of E. intermediella Riedl. When these species are imported as larvae or pupae from an area where they are sympatric, such as around Rome, they must later be separated in the laboratory. This step is essential to establish a pure laboratory colony of the correct species, both to increase the rate of breeding success and to comply with conditions of the importation permit. Although the male and female genitalia and the egg chorion have good diagnostic characters, these characters are not useful for identifying immature stages or newly emerged adults before mating and oviposition. This problem has hampered the establishment of rearing colonies of these two species in Canada. We describe the development and application Of four polymerase chain reaction restriction fragment length polymorphism assays that have been used to distinguish between these two species. If and when either of these species becomes established in the field, the tests presented here should also prove useful for monitoring populations.

  • European corn-borer

    • Sex-linked genes and species differences in Lepidoptera

      Abstract: I review reports on the genetic basis for species differences in the Lepidoptera. In the six best-studied species complexes, more than half of all ecological, behavioral, or physiological differences among species are controlled by X-linked genes. Because Lepidoptera have about 30 pairs of chromosomes, this finding clearly indicates strong bias toward X-linkage of genes for species differences. The proportion of X-linked species differences ranges from complete X-linkage in Colias butterflies, to almost none in Yponomeuta moths. Four other complexes all have at least one X-linked gene that is crucial to species differences, including the Choristoneura fumiferana Clemens, Papilio glaucus L., and Papilio machaon L. species groups, and Ostrinia nubilalis Hubner pheromone strains. The mechanisms that account for this phenomenon are open to speculation. Nonetheless, an interesting implication of disproportionate X-linkage is that reproductive isolation may frequently arise by selection on linkage complexes, rather than as a random byproduct of evolution in geographically isolated populations. If confirmed, the bias toward X-linked species differences may also help efforts to find characters that distinguish host races and sibling species, as well as provide an avenue by which genes crucial to speciation can be more easily mapped and characterized at the molecular level.

  • Forests

  • Genetic markers

    • Amplified mitochondrial DNA as a diagnostic marker for species of conifer-feeding Choristoneura (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae)

      Abstract: We describe a method for identifying conifer-feeding species and lineages of Choristoneura Lederer in Canada and Alaska. The method relies on amplification of mitochondrial (mt) DNA by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR); amplified DNA is then digested with restriction enzymes to give characteristic DNA fragment patterns. We used the cytochrome oxidase I and II genes of mtDNA, which were previously shown to contain numerous nucleotide differences at the level of species. Ten restriction enzymes were surveyed and a combination of two of these (EcoR V + Hinf I) was sufficient to distinguish the major mtDNA lineages. Choris?oneura fumiferana (Clemens), C. pinus Freeman, and C. rosaceana (Harris) were readily distinguished from each other and from an assemblage of three putative western species (C. occidentalis Freeman, C. orae Freeman, and C. biennis Freeman). The three western species have the same mtDNA marker pattern in most individuals and, although ecologically differentiated, their populations may actually be conspecific. At one locality in Alaska, pheromone traps baited with lures for C. fumiferana attract moths with C. fumiferana, mtDNA, and lures for C. orae attract moths with mtDNA that is characteristic of the western assemblage. This demonstrates geographic overlap of genetically distinct species in Alaska. The same two separate mtDNA lineages co-occur at two localities in Alberta, but pheromone attraction is unknown. In British Columbia, populations identified as C. biennis and C. occidentalis contain a few individuals with divergent mtDNA genotypes, the significance of which remains unclear. Amplified mtDNA thus provides a convenient, reliable marker for surveying genetic variation within species and for studying interactions among species of the C. fumiferana group.

  • Genetic structure

    • Spatial Genetic Structure of a Symbiotic Beetle-Fungal System: Toward Multi-Taxa Integrated Landscape Genetics

      Spatial patterns of genetic variation in interacting species can identify shared features that are important to gene flow and can elucidate co-evolutionary relationships. We assessed concordance in spatial genetic variation between the mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) and one of its fungal symbionts, Grosmanniaclavigera, in western Canada using neutral genetic markers. We examined how spatial heterogeneity affects genetic variation within beetles and fungi and developed a novel integrated landscape genetics approach to assess reciprocal genetic influences between species using constrained ordination. We also compared landscape genetic models built using Euclidean distances based on allele frequencies to traditional pair-wise Fst. Both beetles and fungi exhibited moderate levels of genetic structure over the total study area, low levels of structure in the south, and more pronounced fungal structure in the north. Beetle genetic variation was associated with geographic location while that of the fungus was not. Pinevolume and climate explained beetle genetic variation in the northern region of recent outbreak expansion. Reciprocal genetic relationships were only detectedin the south where there has been alonger history of beetle infestations. The Euclidean distance and Fst-based analyses resulted in similar models in the north and over the entire study area, but differences between methods in the south suggest that genetic distances measures should be selected based on ecological and evolutionary contexts. The integrated landscape genetics framework we present is powerful, general, and can be applied to other systems to quantify the biotic and abiotic determinants of spatial genetic variation within and among taxa.

  • Genetic-variation

    • Mitochondrial DNA variation in two invasive birch leaf-mining sawflies in North America

      Mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I and 11 genes were sequenced for two invasive alien birch (Betula L. [Betulaceae]) leaf-mining sawflies, Profenusa thomsoni (Konow, 1886) (Hymenoptera: Tenthredinidae) and Scolioneura betuleti (King, 1816) (Hymenoptera: Tenthredinidae), accidentally introduced from Europe to North America. Ten North American and two European populations of P. thomsoni were sampled. As no genetic variation was observed for this parthenogenic species in Europe or North America, there is no evidence that this species was introduced more than once into North America. A single Canadian population of putative S. betuleti was genetically characterized and compared with populations of S. betuleti and Scolioneura vicina Konow, 1894 in Europe to resolve the species identity of the introduced Canadian population. Three haplotypes were present in European material but only one haplotype was represented in material collected in Canada. The haplotype in the Canadian population occurred in both S. betuleti and S. vicina in Europe. Thus, this preliminary genetic work cannot provide certain identity of the Canadian species. Moreover, there was no significant genetic difference between putative S. betuleti and S. vicina in Europe, leading us to suggest that S. vicina may not be reproductively isolated from S. betuleti, despite ecological differences.

  • Ixodes pacificus

  • Limnoporus

  • Molecular systematics

  • Pissodes strobi

    • Population Structure and Gene Flow in the White Pine Weevil, Pissodes strobi (Coleoptera: Curculionidae)

      Abstract: The white pine weevil, Pissodes strobi (Peck), is a major source of damage to young spruce and pine trees across North America. The species contains a substantial amount of genetic, morphological, and behavioral variation, and identification of patterns of genetic variation on a broad geographic scale may contribute toward more effective pest management strategies. To estimate maternal gene flow and examine the genetic structure of P. strobi we sequenced an 826-bp fragment of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) COI gene in 130 individuals from 11 locations across Canada. Nested clade analysis of 36 haplotypes yielded three patterns of genetic structuring that are inferred as due primarily to restricted gene flow and contiguous range expansion, with one case of long-distance colonization. Analysis of molecular variance analysis also showed significant genetic structuring and restricted gene flow among regional populations. Eastern and western populations were divergent, as were the four populations surveyed in British Columbia. Findings were comparable with those of previous studies based on allozyme or randomly amplified polymorphic DNA data, although population differentiation was greater in mtDNA. Detection of such genetic structure may be important for control programs, because other studies have shown that the conifer hosts of P. strobi provide geographically structured variation in resistance to damage.

  • Population-genetics

    • Mitochondrial DNA variation and identification of bark weevils in the Pissodes strobi species group in western Canada (Coleoptera: Curculionidae)

      Abstract: Morphological, allozyme, and chromosomal characters and ecological traits have limited value for discriminating among four closely related Pissodes spp. known from western Canada. We amplified a 1585-bp segment of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), including half of the cytochrome oxidase I (COI) and all of the tRNA leucine and COII genes, using the polymerase chain reaction, and studied mtDNA variation within and among all four species of Pissodes with restriction enzymes. Twenty-four haplotypes were found among the 121 maternal lineages surveyed. Haplotype distributions suggest intermediate levels of gene flow for each species. Interspecific estimated sequence divergences ranged from 0 to 28.7%. Phylogenetic relationships among species were reconstructed using P. affinis Randall as an outgroup. Pissodes terminalis Hopping and P. nemorensis Germar were the most closely related species, and this clade was most closely related to P. strobi (Peck); P. schwarzi Hopkins branched off below these three. Restriction site variation is sufficient to discriminate unambiguously among most species. However, P, terminalis and P. nemorensis haplotypes were very similar, which may complicate discrimination between these two species, using mtDNA characters, where their ranges putatively overlap in Manitoba. A diagnostic protocol using three restriction enzymes, Eel I, Dra I, and HinfI, is recommended.

  • Southeastern United States

    • Phylogenetic framework for Dioryctria (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae: Phycitinae) based on combined analysis of mitochondrial DNA and morphology

      Coneworms of the genus Dioryctria Zeller are important lepidopterous pests of conifer cones throughout the Holarctic region. Seventy-nine Dioryctria species are currently recognized and arranged into 11 species groups, but a globally unified classification of these species groups has not been attained. We surveyed 14 Dioryctria species belonging to 7 species groups recognized as being taxonomically problematic. Mitochondrial DNA sequences and morphological characters were used to resolve relationships among and within species groups and species. Sequences were obtained for 2.3 kb of the initochondrial COI + COII genes and related to 52 morphological characters. Parsimony analyses of separate and combined data showed that (i) the five included Chinese species (D. abietella (Denis and Schiffermuller), D. rubella Hampson, D. nr. rubella, D. magnifica Munroe, and D. yiai Mutuura and Munroe) were distinct from the North American taxa, and their relationships were interspersed among Nearctic and European species; (ii) three of the four species groups represented by more than one species formed robust, well-supported clades (abietella group, sylvestrella group, and zimmermani group) for both mtDNA sequences and morphology; (iii) mtDNA and morphology gave conflicting interspecific and intergroup relationships for the auranticella, schuetzeella, ponderosae, and baumhoferi groups; (iv) all eight species for which more than one specimen was sampled were characterized by discrete clusters of mitochondrial DNA haplotypes, and mtDNA divergences among species in the same species group were generally less than those among species in different species groups; and (v) combining mtDNA data with morphological data increased support for most nodes in the phylogeny, with morphological characters providing support for species groups and mtDNA being essential for distinguishing species within species groups. This study demonstrates the value of a combined analysis of both mtDNA and morphological characters and establishes a phylogenetic framework for broader and more comprehensive Studies of Dioryctria species.

  • Southern pine coneworm

    • Biology and management of North American cone-feeding Dioryctria species

      Abstract: Coneworms, Dioryctria Zeller (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), are destructive pests of conifers across North America, and members of several different species groups present significant pest-management challenges in conifer seed orchards. Dioryctria abietivorella Grote (abietella group) is the most pestiferous Dioryctria species in Canada. Despite this status, control tactics are currently limited to broad-spectrum pesticides that threaten non-target species and may result in pesticide resistance. The development of integrated pest management programs targeting Dioryctria species will benefit from a conceptual framework on which to base future research. To create this structure, we review the systematics, evolutionary ecology, and management of cone-feeding North American Dioryctria species. Current research suggests that many species boundaries are in need of further revision. Major gaps in our understanding of Dioryctria ecology impede the development of integrated pest management tactics. For example, host-generated semiochemicals are important in Dioryctria reproduction, although the uses of these cues in host-finding and host acceptance remain unknown. Future research should identify factors that mediate population distribution at landscape (e.g., migration), local (e.g., feeding stimulants), and temporal (e.g., development thresholds) scales.

  • Species complex coleoptera

    • Population structure and phylogenetic relationships of Ceutorhynchus neglectus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae)

      Ceutorhynchus neglectus Blatchley is a weevil that is native to, and widely distributed in, North America. It has life-history characteristics similar to its alien invasive congener, Ceutorhynchus obstrictus (Marsham), the cabbage seedpod weevil. Our study was undertaken to compare the population structure of C. neglectus in North America to that of C. obstrictus, which, in contrast, was introduced only recently to North America and might be expected to have a simpler population structure. We also compared the population structure of C. neglectus to that of Pissodes strobi (Peck), which is known to possess high levels of intraspecific variation and is also a Nearctic weevil. We sequenced a 790-bp fragment of mtDNA (cytochrome oxidase I (COI) gene) and a 117-bp fragment of nuclear DNA (internal transcribed spacer region 1 (ITS1)). Nested clade analysis inferred contiguous range expansion and restricted gene flow with isolation by distance. Analysis of molecular variance also supported restricted gene flow between geographically distant populations. However, within-species variation in C. neglectus was lower than that for other weevil species including C. obstrictus. We also examined DNA divergences and phylogenetic relationships among 10 species of Ceutorhynchus using parsimony analysis of a 2.3-kb fragment of mtDNA (COI-COII) and a 541-bp fragment of nuclear DNA (elongation factor 1 alpha).

  • Tortricinae

    • Molecular Phylogeny Within and Between Species of the Archips argyrospila Complex ( Lepidoptera : Tortricidae )

      Abstract: The Archips argyrospila complex consists of a series of morphologically indistinct populations with a confusing array of pheromone and host types. No phylogenetic studies on the genus Archips or any of its species groups have previously been published. We examined DNA variation in a 475 bp segment of the mitochondrial COI gene and compared 30 populations of A. argyrospila, four populations of A, mortuana, four populations of A. goyerana, and one specimen of each of four outgroup species. Among the 97 ingroup sequences obtained, there were 23 unique haplotypes and nucleotide variation at 20 sites. The monophyletic ingroup containing A. argyrospila, A. mortuana, A. goyerana and a West Coast clade was strongly supported by bootstrap values and decay indices. Host races and some pheromone types within A. argyrospila did not correspond to mtDNA variation in this analysis. Our molecular analyses supported phylogenetic and ecological interpretations of species status applied to A. goyerana but not A. mortuana, and supported the existence of a phylogenetically distinct West Coast species.

    • Phylogeny of Nearctic Species of the Xylosteana Group of Archips Hübner (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) Based on Combined Analysis of Morphological and Mitochondrial DNA Data Sets

      Abstract: The Holarctic Archips xylosteana Group consists of at least 18 morphologically similar species in the Nearctic, three of which were synonymized with A. argyrospila by Razowski and subsequently returned to species status, two that were described since 1986 but are clearly related to A. argyrospila, and an additional Western clade of A. argyrospila haplotypes that Razowski had not seen. We examined the morphology of all described Nearctic Xylosteana Group members plus one undescribed species, as well as DNA variation in a 816 bp segment of the mitochondrial COI gene for 17 of these species. We also examined three of five species of Archips from the Packardiana Group (=Archippus Freeman), and three outgroup genera (Argyrotaenia Stephens, Clepsis Guenee, and Choristoneura Lederer). Parsimony analyses of the combined molecular and morphological data sets gave better resolution and abetter supported tree than did analyses of any single data set. All analyses revealed five species groups, rendering paraphyletic the Xylosteana Group as previously defined. An updated systematic list of Nearctic Archips is provided. We discuss the possibility that our data could support the resurrection of the genus Archippus from synonymy and the recognition of the Cerasivorana Group and the Purpurana Group as new genera. We have elected to leave the genus intact pending future investigations that include the additional Palaearctic members of the group.

  • Yponomeuta malinellus