1. Research Update: Asiatic Garden Beetle Population Genetics

    Mar 3, 2021

    Tilmon Lab graduate student Adrian Pekarcik received a USDA AFRI EWD Predoctoral Fellowship to investigate the Asiatic garden beetle (AGB), Maladera castanea, an annual white grub species that was introduced to the U.S. in 1921 and has spread to at least 25 states and 2 Canadian provinces. Historically it was a pest of turfgrasses and ornamentals, however, in the last 10 years AGB has emerged as a new pest of field corn in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. We hypothesize that these beetles comprise a genetically distinct population and propose to use molecular genetic tools to compare genetic structure among North America AGB populations. This serves the longer-term goal to understand why AGB has emerged as a new pest. Our objectives are to (1) develop molecular markers for AGB, and (2) assess North American populations for habitat-specific variation and/or geographic variation.