The genetic structure of populations of an invading pest fruit fly, Bactrocera tryoni, at the species climatic range limit.
Previous population genetic studies of the Queensland fruit fly, Bactrocera tryoni Froggatt (Diptera: Tephritidae), in its central range have shown barely detectable genetic differentiation across distances of almost 3000 km (Fst=0.003). In this study, we investigated the genetic structuring of southern border populations of B. tryoni, in the region extending from the central population to the recently colonized southern range limit. The expectation was that marginal populations would be small, fragmented population sinks, with local adaptation limited by gene flow or drift. Unexpectedly, we found that the population at the southern extreme of the range was a source population, rather than a sink, for the surrounding region. This was shown by assignment testing of recent outbreaks in an adjoining quarantine area and by indirect migration estimates. Furthermore, populations in the region had formed a latitudinal cline in microsatellite allele frequencies, spanning the region between the central population and the southern range limit. The cline has formed within 250 generations of the initial invasion and appears stable between years. We show that there is restricted gene flow in the region and that effective population sizes are of the order of 102-103. Although the cline may result from natural selection, neutral evolutionary processes may also explain our findings.