Evolutionary Ecology

, Volume 28, Issue 5, pp 829–848 | Cite as

Genetic divergence and evidence for sympatric host-races in the highly polyphagous brown tail moth, Euproctis chrysorrhoea (Lepidoptera: Erebidae)

  • Joana F. Marques
  • Hong-Lei Wang
  • Glenn P. Svensson
  • Enric Frago
  • Olle Anderbrant
Original Paper


The brown tail moth (BTM) Euproctis chrysorrhoea (Linnaeus 1758) (Lepidoptera: Erebidae) is a forest and ornamental pest in Europe and the United States. Its extreme polyphagy, and documented phenological shift associated with host use suggest the presence of distinct host-races. To test this hypothesis, we sampled BTM infesting different host species in several locations along its distribution, and used DNA sequence data (a total of 1,672 bp from cytochrome c oxidase subunit I, elongation factor 1-alpha, and wingless) to produce haplotype networks and reconstruct the phylogenetic relationships between individuals. Population genetic diversity indices pointed out a higher genetic diversity in Europe, particularly in the samples from southern Spain and southern England. Lower F ST values were found between geographically closer populations when compared to more distant ones, but analyses of molecular variance and Mantel tests failed to reveal geographically associated genetic differentiation. However, haplotype networks and phylogenetic reconstructions revealed a previously unknown genetic differentiation within the BTM, with one lineage circumscribed to southern Europe. Although BTM haplotypes did not cluster according to their host plant, host-associated haplotypes were observed within certain geographic regions. Hence, our data support the existence of host-races of BTM within southern Spain and southern England, where populations from different hosts occur in sympatry.


Brown tail moth Haplotype diversity Host-races Molecular phylogeny Population differentiation Sympatry 



The authors would like to thanks the following persons for kindly sending samples from different BTM populations: Josep-Maria Riva (Menorca, Spain), Constantin Ciornei and Raoul Constantineanu (Romania), Jean-Pierre Allanioux (France), Jeff Boettner and Joe Elkinton (USA) and Hugo Mas and Eduardo Perez-Laorga (València, Spain). The authors also thank Roger Gwazdowski and Andrew Frewin for advice on haplotype network editing and formatting, and the Editor in Chief Professor John Endler, the Associate Editor Dr Arjen Biere, and two anonymous Reviewers for all their comments, corrections and suggestions that contributed for a better version of this paper. This study was supported by the Carl Tryggers Foundation and the Royal Physiographic Society in Lund, Sweden.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 123 kb)
10682_2014_9701_MOESM2_ESM.docx (323 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 322 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joana F. Marques
    • 1
  • Hong-Lei Wang
    • 1
  • Glenn P. Svensson
    • 1
  • Enric Frago
    • 2
  • Olle Anderbrant
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyLund UniversityLundSweden
  2. 2.Laboratory of EntomologyWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands

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