Conopomorpha cramerella (Snellen) (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) is a devastating pest of cacao, Theobroma cacao L. (Sterculiaceae), in Southeast Asia, particularly in the Malay Archipelago. We surveyed genetic variation at two unlinked loci, mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (COI) and nuclear elongation factor-1α (EF-1α), in C. cramerella from throughout most of their known geographic range. Given the enormous area sampled, COI variation is extremely low; EF-1α variation may be low as well, but this is more difficult to assess due to the lack of appropriate data sets for comparison. Our results strongly suggest that sampled C. cramerella populations have experienced at least one bottleneck in their recent past, although the possibility that COI variation has been reduced by a selective sweep cannot be excluded based on available data. We suggest that one or more bottlenecks likely occurred when C. cramerella from an as yet unknown source population, either within or outside the Malay Archipelago, became established on cacao, which is not endemic to this region (Conopomorpha is an Old World genus and cacao originated in the New World). Identification of the source of this pest could be important in efforts to identify natural enemies for biological control.
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Vol. 101 • No. 5