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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2011

Phylogeographic structure of Teretrius nigrescens (Coleoptera: Histeridae) predator of the invasive post harvest pest Prostephanus truncatus (Coleoptera: Bostrichidae)

Bonaventure Omondi, Aman; van der Berg, J; Masiga, Daniel; Schulthess, Fritz


The invasive larger grain borer Prostephanus truncatus (Horn) is the most important pest of farm-stored maize in Africa. It was introduced into the continent from Mesoamerica in the late 1970s and by 2008 had spread to at least 18 countries. Classical biological control using two populations of the predator Teretrius nigrescens Lewis achieved long-term and cost effective control in warm-humid areas, but not in cool and hot-dry zones. The present study investigated the phylogenetic relationships between geographical populations of the predator. Ten populations of T. nigrescens were studied using randomly amplified polymorphic DNA polymerase chain reaction (RAPD-PCR), sequence analysis of mitochondrial Cytochrme oxydase 1 (mtCOI) gene and ribosomal internally transcribed spacers (ITS) 1, 5.8S and ITS2. The mtCOI variation revealed two clades associated with geographical regions in Central America. It also reveals a significant isolation by distance between populations and considerable genetic shifts in laboratory rearing. RAPD-PCR did not reveal any potential SCAR diagnostic markers. The ITS variation mainly involved insertions and deletions of simple sequence repeats even within individuals. This study reveals the existence of two different mitochondrial lineages of the predator, associated with the geographical origin of populations distinguishable by fixed mutations on the mtCOI gene. The populations of T. nigrescens released in Africa belonged to two different clades from Meso America, namely south (released in West Africa) and north (released in eastern Africa). However, more polymorphic markers are required to clarify the observations in demographic time scales.


Prostephanus truncatus; Teretrius nigrescens; geographical races; genetic diversity; cytochrome oxidase 1

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Bulletin of Entomological Research
2011, Volume: 101, number: 5, pages: 521-532

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