Bulletin of Entomological Research

Research Paper

Multiple incursions and putative species revealed using a mitochondrial and nuclear phylogenetic approach to the Trogoderma variabile (Coleoptera: Dermestidae) trapping program in Australia

M.A. Castalanellia1a2a5 c1, K.M. Mikaca3, A.M. Bakera4, K. Munyarda2, M. Grimma5 and D.M. Grotha2

a1 Cooperative Research Centre for National Plant Biosecurity, Deakin, ACT, Australia

a2 Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute, Western Australian Biomedical Research Institute, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Australia

a3 Institute for Conservation Biology and Environmental Management, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW Australia

a4 Discipline of Biogeoscience, Faculty of Science and Technology, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

a5 Division of Biosecurity and Research, Department of Agriculture Western Australia, WA, 6151, Australia


The Warehouse beetle, Trogoderma variabile (Coleoptera: Dermestidae), is an internationally significant invasive pest of packed goods and stored grain. When it was first documented in Australia at Griffith, New South Wales, in 1977, an eradication campaign was initiated. After several years and considerable effort, the eradication campaign was abandoned. To monitor the presence and spread of T. variabile, surveys were carried out by government agencies in 1992 and 2002. When survey data was compared, it was concluded that the distribution of morphologically identified T. variabile had doubled in most Australian states. Here, we used samples from the 2002 survey to conduct a phylogenetic study using partial sequences of mitochondrial genes Cytochrome oxidase I and Cytochrome B, and the nuclear gene 18S, to examine the distribution and dispersal of T. variabile and detect the presence of misidentified species. Based on our molecular results, we show that only 47% of the samples analysed were T. variabile, and the remaining were a mixture of six putative species. In addition, T. variabile was found in only 78% of the trapping sites. We discuss the importance of correct diagnosis in relation to the eradication campaign.

(Accepted August 20 2010)

(Online publication January 13 2011)


c1 Author for correspondence Fax: +61 8 9266 2342 E-mail: mark.castalanelli@agric.wa.gov.au