Cryptolaemus montrouzieri Mulsaut (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) is an effective biological control agent of Australian origin, which has been introduced worldwide to control mealybugs. Although successfully used for >100 yr, its introduction in a new area may cause environmental risks should the populations become invasive. In the present study, a population genetics method was used to make predictions of the invasive potential of C. montrouzieri. Our results showed a similar level of genetic diversity among all populations. No significant genetic differentiation between native and introduced populations was observed, while three populations from the native region were significantly divergent. The fact that genetic diversity was not reduced in introduced areas suggests that no bottleneck effect has occurred during introduction. To avoid rapid evolution of the introduced C. montrouzieri, the introduction records of each population should be clearly traced and introductions from multiple sources into the same area should be avoided.
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Vol. 108 • No. 5