Canadian Forest Service Publications

Mitochondrial DNA sequence variation among populations and host races of Lambdina fiscellaria (Gn.) (Lepidoptera: Geometridae). 1999. Sperling, F.A.H.; Raske, A.; Otvos, I.S. Insect Molecular Biology 8: 97-106.

Year: 1999

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 5298

Language: English

Availability: Not available through the CFS (click for more information).

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The hemlock looper, Lambdina fiscellaria (Gn.), is a recurring major forest pest that is widely distributed in North America. Three subspecies (L. f. fiscellaria, L. f. lugubrosa (Hulst) and L. f. somniaria (Hulst) ) have been recognized based on larval host or adult pheromone differences, but no consistent morphological differences have been reported. To clarify their taxonomic status, we surveyed mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequence and restriction site variation in two protein coding genes, cytochrome oxidase I and II (COI and COII), in populations across the range of L. fiscellaria. In addition to variation in COI and COII, we found an intergenic spacer region of 20-23 bp located between the tRNA tyrosine gene and the start of COI. Of the 141 specimens of L. fiscellaria assayed, 137 were grouped into two distinct mtDNA lineages, one of which was disproportionately associated with eastern populations and one with western populations. However, single specimens and two populations in eastern Canada had mtDNA resembling that of western populations. Three divergent and rare haplotypes had basal affinities to the two common lineages. The two major lineages of L. fiscellaria were diverged by approximately 2% from each other, as well as from the mtDNA of two outgroup species, L. athasaria (Walker) and L. pellucidaria (G. & R.). The two outgroup species had essentially the same mtDNA and may be conspecific. We interpret the pattern of mtDNA variation within L. fiscellaria as indicating genetic polymorphism within a single species without clear subspecific divisions, rather than evidence of multiple cryptic species.