Journal article

Assessing Genomic Admixture between Cryptic Plutella Moth Species following Secondary Contact

Christopher M Ward, Simon W Baxter



Cryptic species are genetically distinct taxa without obvious variation in morphology and are occasionally discovered using molecular or sequence data sets of populations previously thought to be a single species. The world-wide Brassica pest, Plutella xylostella (diamondback moth), has been a problematic insect in Australia since 1882, yet a morphologically cryptic species with apparent endemism (P. australiana) was only recognized in 2013. Plutella xylostella and P. australiana are able to hybridize under laboratory conditions, and it was unknown whether introgression of adaptive traits could occur in the field to improve fitness and potentially increase pressure on agriculture. Phylogenet..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by Australian Research Council

Awarded by Grains Research and Development Corporation

Funding Acknowledgements

This work was funded by the Australian Research Council (grant numbers DP120100047, FT140101303) and Grains Research and Development Corporation (UOA1711-004RSX). C.M.W. is supported by The Commonwealth Hill Trust and Grains Research and Development Corporation. Supercomputing resources were provided by the Phoenix HPC service at the University of Adelaide. We thank Kym Perry (University of Adelaide, Australia), Kevin Powis (South Australian Research and Development Institute, Australia), and Ron Mau (College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawaii) for sample collection along with Paul Hebert (Centre for Biodiversity Genomics) and Jean-Francois Landry (Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids, and Nematodes) for the images of P. australiana and P. xylostella, respectively. We also thank two anonymous reviewers for their comments on a previous version of this manuscript.