Evidence for multiple introductions of an invasive wild bee species currently under rapid range expansion in Europe.
Background: Invasive species are increasingly driving biodiversity decline, and knowledge of colonization dynamics, including both drivers and dispersal modes, are important to prevent future invasions. The bee species Megachile sculpturalis (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae), native to East-Asia, was first recognized in Southeast-France in 2008, and has since spread throughout much of Europe. The spread is very fast, and colonization may result from multiple fronts. Result: To track the history of this invasion, codominant markers were genotyped using Illumina sequencing and the invasion history and degree of connectivity between populations across the European invasion axis were investigated. Distinctive genetic clusters were detected with east-west differentiations in Middle-Europe. Conclusion: We hypothesize that the observed cluster formation resulted from multiple, independent introductions of the species to the European continent. This study draws a first picture of an early invasion stage of this wild bee and forms a foundation for further investigations, including studies of the species in their native Asian range and in the invaded range in North America.