Origins of Vespa velutina hornets that recently invaded Iki Island, Japan and Jersey Island, UK

The native distribution of the yellow-legged hornet, Vespa velutina, is throughout East Asia. Around 15 years ago this species was accidentally introduced into South Korea and France, where it became established and then spread into neighbouring countries. Previous mitochondrial DNA studies showed that the South Korean, Japanese, and French populations all originated from Eastern China. Recently, the hornet has invaded Iki Island, Japan and Jersey Island, UK. In this study, we analyze the complete mitochondrial DNA sequence of V. velutina to trace the origin of these two populations. The mitochondrial DNA haplotypes (COI, Cytb, and 16S rRNA) of V. velutina in Iki Island matched the unique haplotype present in China, South Korea, and Japan, while the haplotype from Jersey Island matched that of V. velutina found in France and China. These findings were supported by data from the complete mitochondrial DNA sequence of V. velutina from Iki Island, which was consistent with the sequence from South Korea and Tsushima, whereas V. velutina in Jersey was most similar to the French population.