Genomics tools to assess the usage of alternate habitats and landscapes by Rhyzopertha dominica (Coleoptera: Bostrichidae)


Abstract: Rhyzopertha dominica (lesser grain borer) is a cosmopolitan pest that feeds on a
variety of products after they are harvested from the field. Although prominently found in
storage and food facilities, they often can colonize other ecosystems and can move great
distances throughout the landscape in search of food and oviposition substrates. It is unclear
whether these dispersing individuals could serve as source populations for infestations of
nearby storage structures or how long they persist in these landscapes in the United States. In
addition, prior studies have also indicated that R. dominica can feed, oviposit, and complete
development on plant materials found in several different agricultural landscapes, such as
tallgrass prairies; however, it is unknown if these insects actually feed on these resources as the move throughout the landscape. Thus, the purpose of this study was two-fold: 1) use population genetics to investigate potential interactions between R. dominica collected at a neighboring grain elevator, a flour mill, and a tallgrass prairie and 2) use DNA metabarcoding to identify plant species found in gut contents in insects collected in two different tallgrass prairies.

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