Geographic population structure of the sugarcane borer, Diatraea saccharalis (F.) (Lepidoptera: Crambidae), in the southern United States.
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The sugarcane borer moth, Diatraea saccharalis, is widespread throughout the Western Hemisphere, and is considered an introduced species in the southern United States. Although this moth has a wide distribution and is a pest of many crop plants including sugarcane, corn, sorghum and rice, it is considered one species. The objective was to investigate whether more than one introduction of D. saccharalis had occurred in the southern United States and whether any cryptic species were present. We field collected D. saccharalis in Texas, Louisiana and Florida in the southern United States. Two molecular markers, AFLPs and mitochondrial COI, were used to examine genetic variation among these regional populations and to compare the sequences with those available in GenBank and BOLD. We found geographic population structure in the southern United States which suggests two introductions and the presence of a previously unknown cryptic species. Management of D. saccharalis would likely benefit from further investigation of population genetics throughout the range of this species.