Global Invasion History Of The Termite Reticulitermes Flavipes (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) As Revealed By Three Classes Of Molecular Markers
  Key Words  
  Invasive species, mitochondrial DNA, microsatellite markers, single-nucleotide polymorphism
  Edward L. Vargo, Elfie Perdereau, Franck Dedeine, and Anne-Geneviève Bagnères
  The subterranean termite, Reticulitermes flavipes, is native to North America. In its native range, it is widely distributed in the central and eastern U.S.A. where it plays a significant ecological role as a decomposer of cellulose and is a major pest of human built structures. It has been introduced to many locations in the world where it attacks buildings, including France, Chile, Uruguay, Canada and the Bahamas. To understand the invasion history of this species, we sampled termites from throughout its native and introduced range and applied three sets of molecular genetic markers: mitochondrial DNA sequence data (cytochrome oxidase II gene), microsatellite genotypes (15 loci) and single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs; >13,000 loci). All three sets of markers are consistent in pointing toward the source of the French populations being New Orleans, Louisiana, a result also supported by the similarity of the breeding structure of colonies in New Orleans and in France. In addition, the SNP markers suggested that New Orleans was the likely source of several other introduced populations including the Bahamas, Germany, one population in Canada, and possibly the Chilean population. Thus, New Orleans seems to have served as a source of introduced populations around the world on multiple occasions.