Submitted to: Annals of the Entomological Society of America
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/15/2008
Publication Date: 9/1/2008
Citation: Shapiro, L.H., Scheffer, S.J., Maisin, N., Lambert, S., Bin Purung, H., Sulistyowati, E., Vega, F.E., Gende, P., Laup, S., Rosmana, A., Djam, S., Hebar, P. 2008. Conopomorpha cramerella (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) in the Malay Archipelago: Genetic signature of a bottlenecked population. Annals of the Entomological Society of America. 101(5):930-938.
Interpretive Summary: The cocoa pod borer is a small moth that causes millions of dollars of losses to cacao growers and the chocolate industry each year. A good and predictable supply of cocoa pods is also important to U.S. agriculture because of the large amount of U.S. milk and peanuts used by chocolate producers. We surveyed genetic variation within and among cocoa pod borer populations across its known geographic range in the Malay Archipelago. Our results indicate that the cocoa pod borer is a single species and not a complex of species. Our results also show that the cocoa pod borer population exhibits patterns of genetic variation typical of introduced rather than native populations. If the cocoa pod borer in the Malay Archipelago is the result of one or several introductions from another geographic region, it will be important to identify the original native range, as the populations within the native range are likely to harbor potentially useful natural enemies. The information from this research will be used by scientists and pest management specialists.
Technical Abstract: The cocoa pod borer (Gracillariidae: Conopomorpha cramerella (Snellen)) is a devastating pest of cacao (Theobroma cacao, Sterculiaceae) in Southeast Asia, particularly in the Malay Archipelago. We surveyed genetic variation at two unlinked loci, mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I and nuclear elongation factor 1 alpha, in cocoa pod borers from throughout their known geographic range. Little variation was detected at either locus, strongly suggesting that known cocoa pod borer populations have experienced at least one bottleneck in their recent past. We hypothesize that such a bottleneck occurred during one or a few introductions from an as yet unknown native source population. Identification of a native population could be important as a source of natural enemies for biological control.