Coneworms of the genus Dioryctria Zeller include several serious pests of conifer seeds that are notoriously difficult to distinguish as species. We surveyed mitochondrial DNA variation within the abietella species group by sequencing 451 bp of cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI) and 572 bp of cytochrome oxidase subunit 2 (COII) genes from 64 individuals of six major species in the group. In addition to examining phylogenetic relationships within European members of the group, the study focused on the two most damaging species, D. abietivorella Grote from North America and D. abietella Denis & Schiffermüller from Europe and Asia, which have been considered taxonomically synonymous in the past. To detect different levels of divergence, we extensively sampled in seed orchards and natural forests for D. abietella on different hosts. Maximum parsimony and maximum likelihood analyses confirmed the monophyly of the abietella species group and its separation into three clades. The grouping of North American species (clade A) received strong support in both analyses, whereas relationships between clade A and the two European clades were weakly supported. Dioryctria simplicella Heinemann could not be unambiguously separated from D. abietella populations. The diverse haplotypes observed in the network analysis conducted with eight populations of polyphagous D. abietella suggested the presence of two distinct lineages in France.
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