Introduction of potential disease vectors into a new geographic area poses health risks to local human, livestock, and wildlife populations. It is therefore important to gain understanding of the dynamics of these invasions, in particular its sources, modes of spread after the introduction, and vectorial potential. We studied the population genetics of Aedes (Finlaya) japonicus japonicus (Theobald), an Asian mosquito that was recognized for the first time in the United States in 1998. We examined patterns of genetic diversity using random amplified polymorphic DNA and sequences of ND4 of mtDNA by comparing samples from populations spanning the range of this mosquito in Japan (six samples) and the United States (nine samples) as well as specimens intercepted in New Zealand in 1999. We found geographically differentiated populations in Japan, indicating limited gene flow even on small spatial scales. In the United States, we found evidence of significant genetic differentiation between samples from New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey and those from mid-Pennsylvania and Maryland. We were unable to pinpoint the source location(s) in Japan, although some of the U.S. samples are genetically close to samples from south Honshu and western Kyushu. Further studies should include samples from Korean populations. Distinct genetic signatures in U.S. populations undergoing expansion suggest the possibility of local increases in genetic diversity if and where they meet.
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Vol. 38 • No. 2