Loss of Genetic Variability Induced by Agroecosystems: Chrysoperla externa (Hagen) (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae) as a Case Study
Data de publicação2013-02-07
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Four species of green lacewings occur in Brazil, of which Chrysoperla externa (Hagen) (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae) exhibits the widest geographical distribution. Chrysoperla externa is a predatory insect that is potentially useful as a biological control agent of agricultural pests. Studies on the genetic diversity of lacewing populations are essential to reduce the environmental and economic harm that may be caused by organisms with a low ability to adapt to the adverse and/or different environmental conditions to which they are exposed. We used the cytochrome oxidase I mitochondrial gene as a molecular marker to investigate the genetic diversity of green lacewing species collected from native and agroecosystem environments. Populations derived from native areas showed higher rates of genetic variability compared to populations from agroecosystems. Demographic changes in the form of population expansion were observed in agroecosystems, whereas populations in the native environment appeared stable over time. A statistical analysis showed significant genetic structure between each of the sampled groups, combined with its complete absence within each group, corroborating each group's identity. We infer that the loss of variability exhibited by populations from the agroecosystems is the result of genetic drift by means of the founder effect, a similar effect that has been observed in other introduced populations. Agroecosystems might therefore function as exotic areas for green lacewings, even when these areas are within the normal range of the species. © 2012 Sociedade Entomológica do Brasil.