Population structure of a predatory beetle: The importance of gene flow for intertrophic level interactions

Moshe Coll*, Laura Garcia de Mendoza, George K. Roderick

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Migration and gene flow of natural enemies play an important role in the stability of predator-prey interactions and community organization in both natural and managed systems. Yet, relative to that of their herbivorous insect prey, the genetic structure of natural enemy populations has been little studied. We present evidence that populations of the predatory coccinellid beetle Coleomegilla metadata (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), are not genetically subdivided and that levels of gene flow among these populations are extremely high. Furthermore, in the same geographical area, gene flow of C. maculata was significantly (one order of magnitude) greater than that of an abundant prey species, the Colorado potato beetle Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). The high mobility of this natural enemy relative to the insect herbivores on which it feeds may contribute to its effectiveness as a biological control agent in agricultural systems.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)228-236
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1994
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Yang for advice and R. Gillespie, A. Hilbeck, M. Johnson and an anonymous reviewer for helpful com- ments on drafts of the manuscript. This work was funded by grants from the USDA (to G.K.R.), the Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station Competi- tive Grants Program (to G.K.R. and M.C.), the General Research Board of the University of Maryland (to G.K.R.), and NIH Biomedical Research Funds (to G.K.R.). The Department of Entomology, University of Maryland and the Hawaiian Evolutionary Biology Pro- gram, University of Hawaii, provided additional sup- port. This is scientific article A6414, contribution 8607, of the Maryland Agricultural Experiment Sta-tion.


  • Allozyme
  • Biological control
  • Electrophoresis
  • Gene flow
  • Metapopulation
  • Natural enemies


Dive into the research topics of 'Population structure of a predatory beetle: The importance of gene flow for intertrophic level interactions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this