The stable fly, Stomoxys calcitrans (L.), is a cosmopolitan pest of livestock and humans. The pestiferous nature and painful bite cause stress to cattle and other animals. The stress and resulting avoidance behaviors manifest as reductions in weight gain or milk production in cattle; estimated annual economic loss in the United States exceeds US$2 billion. Understanding the population genetics of stable flies could provide information on their population dynamics, origins of outbreaks, and geographical patterns of insecticide resistance, resulting in a tactical advantage for developing management strategies. Previous studies, mostly on a local scale, reported a high level of gene flow between locations. Here, we report results wherein amplified fragment length polymorphism was used to determine genetic diversity of stable fly samples consisting of 11–40 individuals from 12 locations representing the United States, Canada, and Panama. The Analysis of Molecular Variance showed that the majority of genetic diversity was within groups; very little was among groups. The FST and GST values were low (<0.4), Nm values high (>1.0). The tests of neutrality suggested population expansion, and no genetic differentiation was found between locations. These results show that stable flies have a high level of gene flow on a continental scale, with limited isolation owing to distance or geographical barriers.
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Vol. 50 • No. 5