Genetic differentiation between resistance phenotypes in the phytophagous flea beetle, Phyllotreta nemorum

P.W. de Jong, C.J. Breuker, H. de Vos, K.M.C.A. Vermeer, K. Oku, P.G.H. Verbaarschot, J.K. Nielsen, P.M. Brakefield

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11 Citations (Scopus)


The flea beetle Phyllotreta nemorum L. (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) is genetically polymorphic for resistance against the defences of one of its host plants, Barbarea vulgaris R.Br. (Brassicales: Brassicaceae). Whereas resistant flea beetles are able to use B. vulgaris as well as other cruciferous plants as food, non-resistant beetles cannot survive on B. vulgaris. This limitation to host plant use of non-resistant beetles could potentially lead to asymmetric gene flow and some degree of genetic isolation between the different resistance-genotypes. Therefore, we studied the extent of genetic differentiation at neutral allozyme loci between samples of flea beetles that were collected at different locations and first tested for resistance phenotype. Since earlier work has shown a weak, but significant, effect of geographical distance between the samples on their genetic differentiation, in the present study variation at the neutral allozyme loci in P. nemorum was partitioned between geographical distance and resistance-phenotype. Both sources independently contributed statistically significantly to population differentiation. Thus, there appears to be a limitation to genetic exchange between the resistant and non-resistant flea beetles when corrections are made for their geographic differentiation. This is consistent with the presence of some degree of host race formation in this flea beetle.
Original languageEnglish
Article number69
JournalJournal of Insect Science
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • partial mantel tests
  • atypical host-plant
  • rhagoletis-pomonella
  • sympatric speciation
  • barbarea-vulgaris
  • ecological speciation
  • leaf beetles
  • selection
  • insects
  • races


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