Diaprepes abbreviatus (L.) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) is a root weevil introduced into the United States from the Caribbean in 1964. It is associated with >300 plants, including citrus, sugarcane, and potatoes. D. abbreviatus is widespread in Florida, and it has recently been detected in limited areas of California and Texas. The purpose of this research is to evaluate the utility of 16S ribosomal (16S rRNA) and cytochrome oxidase I (COI) mitochondrial markers for the delineation of genetic populations of D. abbreviatus in Florida and for the characterization of patterns of dispersion among these populations. We also assessed these markers as genetic tools for the clarification of taxonomic uncertainties in specimens from Dominica (Lesser Antilles). We analyzed 111 weevils from six Florida populations and six specimens from Dominica. In Florida, we found three haplotypes with only one haplotype in each population. Florida haplotypes differed by one to three nucleotide substitutions, possibly the result of a recent divergence from one source population or three different introductions from closely related populations from the Caribbean. In contrast, specimens from Dominica showed a high genetic variability with three 16S haplotypes and six unique COI haplotypes, delineating two mitochondrial clades. We show that these mitochondrial markers are useful for phylogeographic studies of D. abbreviatus.
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Vol. 101 • No. 4