Journal of Pest Science

, Volume 92, Issue 1, pp 189–200 | Cite as

The rapid spread of Leptoglossus occidentalis in Europe: a bridgehead invasion

  • V. LesieurEmail author
  • E. Lombaert
  • T. Guillemaud
  • B. Courtial
  • W. Strong
  • A. Roques
  • M.-A. Auger-Rozenberg
Original Paper


Retracing the routes of invasions and determining the origins of invading species is often critical in understanding biological invasions. The Western conifer seed bug, Leptoglossus occidentalis, an insect native of western North America, was first accidentally introduced to eastern North America and then to Europe. The colonization of the entire European continent occurred in ca. 10–15 years, probably promoted by independent introductions in different parts of Europe. A multi-marker approach (mtDNA and microsatellites) combined with approximate Bayesian computation analyses was used to track the origin of European populations and to determine whether this rapid invasion was caused by multiple introductions. Our results show that at least two independent introductions of L. occidentalis have occurred in Europe. Moreover, the analyses showed a stronger genetic similarity of European invasive populations with the eastern North American populations than with those of the native range, suggesting that invasive North American population acted as a bridgehead for European invasion. The results also revealed that natural dispersal as well as human-mediated transportations as hitchhikers probably enhanced the rapid spread of this invasive pest across Europe. This study illustrates the complexity of a rapid invasion and confirms that bridgehead and multiple introductions have serious implications for the success of invasion.


Approximate Bayesian computation Microsatellite Mitochondrial DNA Multiple introductions Source population Western conifer seed bug 



We are indebted to C. Carvalho and N. Gillette (Institute of Forest Genetics, Placerville, USA), N. Wihelmi (Washington Department of Natural Resources, USA), B. Slonecker and S. Cook (University of Idaho, USA), K. Gibson and A. Gannon (Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, USA), J. Egan, S. Kegley, T. Steel and B. Steed (USDA Forest Service, USA), W. Cranshaw (Colorado State University, USA), R. Campos (Universidad Autonoma Chapingo), H. Russell (Michigan State University, USA), J. Hahn (University of Minnesota, USA), S. Passoa (APHIS—USDA, Ohio State University, USA), C. Sclar and B. Landhuis (Longwood Gardens Inc., USA), O. Lonsdale (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa, Canada), J. Sweeney (Natural Resources Canada Canadian Forest Service, Canada), M. Giroux (Insectarium de Montreal, Canada), C. Briet (Vivarmor, France), C. Brua (Société Alsacienne d’Entomologie, France), C. Blazy (ONF, France), C. Kerdelhué (CBGP, France), E. de Sousa (National Institute of Biological Resources, Portugal), M. Á. Gómez de Dios (Agencia de Medio Ambiente y Agua de Andalucía, Spain), Antonio Muñoz Risueño (Spain), G. Sanchez Peña (ICP Forest, Spain), S. Chiesa (Italy), A. Battisti (University of Padova, Italy), C. Stauffer (University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria) N. Simov (National Museum of Natural History, Sofia, Bulgaria), M. Düzbastilar (University of Izmir, Turkey), G. Popov and A. Gubin (Donetsk Botanical Garden, Ukraine) and D. Musolin (University of Saint Petersburg, Russia) who provided bug samples. We greatly acknowledge support from the European project ISEFOR (Increasing Sustainability of European Forests: Modelling for Security Against Invasive Pests and Pathogens under Climate Change—collaborative project 245268), Cost action PERMIT (Pathway Evaluation and pest Risk Management In Transport) and the French Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries, Rural Affairs and Spatial Planning (convention DGFAR 01/09). We gratefully thank C. Bertheau (University of Franche-Comté, France) and J. Rousselet (INRA, Orléans) for their helpful advices. We are grateful to T. Bourgeois and C. Courtin for technical assistance. We thank S. Raghu (CSIRO Brisbane) and A. Sheppard (CSIRO Canberra) for their comments and suggestions on an early version of the manuscript. We also thank three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors state that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. Likewise, collection on public lands was conducted in compliance with existing regulations for insects defined as non-commercial, as determined by local offices. Furthermore, for sampling carried out on private lands, we had permission from the owners. Additionally, these field studies did not involve endangered or protected species.

Supplementary material

10340_2018_993_MOESM1_ESM.docx (6.1 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 6276 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. Lesieur
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
    Email author
  • E. Lombaert
    • 2
  • T. Guillemaud
    • 2
  • B. Courtial
    • 1
  • W. Strong
    • 3
  • A. Roques
    • 1
  • M.-A. Auger-Rozenberg
    • 1
  1. 1.INRA UR633 Zoologie ForestièreOrléans Cedex 2France
  2. 2.INRA, CNRSUniversité Côte d’Azur, ISASophia Antipolis CedexFrance
  3. 3.BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Mines and Natural Resource OperationsKalamalka Forestry CentreVernonCanada
  4. 4.Montpellier-SupAgro, UMR CBGPMontferrier sur LezFrance
  5. 5.CSIRO European LaboratoryMontferrier sur LezFrance

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