The pinewood nematode, Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, native to North America, is the causative agent of pine wilt disease and among the most important invasive forest pests in the East-Asian countries, such as Japan and China. Since 1999, it has been found in Europe in the Iberian Peninsula, where it also causes significant damage. In a previous study, 94 pairs of microsatellite primers have been identified in silico in the pinewood nematode genome. In the present study, specific PCR amplifications and polymorphism tests to validate these loci were performed and 17 microsatellite loci that were suitable for routine analysis of B. xylophilus genetic diversity were selected. The polymorphism of these markers was evaluated on nematodes from four field origins and one laboratory collection strain, all originate from the native area. The number of alleles and the expected heterozygosity varied between 2 and 11 and between 0.039 and 0.777, respectively. First insights into the population genetic structure of B. xylophilus were obtained using clustering and multivariate methods on the genotypes obtained from the field samples. The results showed that the pinewood nematode genetic diversity is spatially structured at the scale of the pine tree and probably at larger scales. The role of dispersal by the insect vector versus human activities in shaping this structure is discussed.