The pink hibiscus mealybug Maconellicoccus hirsutus (Green) is a dangerous pest that damages a wide variety of agricultural, horticultural, and forestry crops. Amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) fingerprints were used to characterize the genetic variation of 11 M. hirsutus populations infesting three plant species in Nayarit, Mexico. Analysis was carried out using four primers combinations, producing 590 polymorphic bands. Cluster analysis, as well as bootstrap dendrogram and nonmetric multidimensional scaling analysis, grouped M. hirsutus populations according to their host plant. The estimated FST values indicated a high differentiation in M. hirsutus populations among the three host plant species. These results were also supported by a Bayesian analysis, which indicated a population clustering robustness according to their host plant. Genetic variation among populations is not caused by geographic distances, as shown by a Mantel test.
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