History of the Exotic Ambrosia Beetles Euwallacea interjectus and Euwallacea validus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Xyleborini) in the United States

  • Cognato A
  • Hoebeke E
  • Kajimura H
 et al. 
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Exotic insects are constantly intercepted at U.S. ports-of-entry. Of these, wood-boring beetles, particularly xyleborine ambrosia beetles, are sometimes missed during port inspections and become established in the United States. Euwallacea validus (Eichhoff) and Euwallacea interjectus (Blandford) are morphologically similar Asian ambrosia beetle species that vary by their fungal associates and their potential to cause economic damage. Euwallacea validus and E. interjectus were first discovered in New York (1975) and Hawaii (1976), respectively. Euwallacea validus was collected multiple times from widely separated localities and is assumed to have spread throughout the eastern United States. The discovery of E. interjectus in Florida (2011) and Texas (2011) prompted our review of the E. validus specimens because of the potential misidentification of the species. In addition, using mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (COI) DNA data and phylogenetic analysis, we tested the hypothesis that multiple introductions account for the U.S. populations of E. interjectus and E. validus. Our review of 7,184 specimens revealed an earlier introduction to the mainland for E. interjectus, which was first collected from Louisiana in 1984. This species is distributed in the South while E. validus occurs in the North with a known area of syntopy in northeastern Georgia. The extent of the syntopy within the United States is unknown and further investigation is required. Phylogenetic analysis of 24 E. interjectus and 20 E. validus individuals resolved clades that associated with each species and gross geographic provenance. Four well-supported clades represented E. interjectus which included the following localities: 1) Hawaii and Thailand; 2) Vietnam, Taiwan, and Texas; 3) Okinawa (Japan); and 4) Japan and several southern U.S. states. One clade comprised all E. validus specimens from Japan and the mainland United States. Four and two haplotypes were found for the E. interjectus and E. validus specimens, respectively, in mainland United States. Except for the Texas specimen, the haplotypes differed by one nucleotide. The relationship of the haplotypes and their sequence similarity suggested that the provenance of E. validus and the majority of E. interjectus haplotypes was Japan while the Texas haplotype originated later and from a location near Taiwan. Given the high nucleotide sequence difference between the Hawaiian and Thai haplotypes, the exact origin of the Hawaiian E. interjectus is unknown but likely Southeast Asia. A broader investigation including more SE Asian individuals will help to further explain the introduction of E. interjectus into Hawaii and Texas.

Author-supplied keywords

  • DNA
  • Scolytinae
  • introduced species
  • phylogeny
  • taxonomy

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