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Evaluation of identification methods for cryptic Bactrocera dorsalis (Diptera: Tephritidae) specimens: combining morphological and molecular techniques

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Charbonnel, E., Chapuis, M.-P., Taddei, A., Schutze, M. K., Starkie, M. L., Benoit, L., Mouttet, R. and Ouvrard, D. (2023) Evaluation of identification methods for cryptic Bactrocera dorsalis (Diptera: Tephritidae) specimens: combining morphological and molecular techniques. Journal of Economic Entomology, 116 (6). pp. 2193-2200. ISSN 0022-0493

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Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1093/jee/toad178


The potential for population genomics to elucidate invasion pathways of a species is limited by taxonomic identification issues. The Oriental fruit fly pest, Bactrocera dorsalis (Hendel) belongs to a complex in which several sympatric species are attracted to the same lure used in trapping and are morphologically cryptic and/or reported to hybridize. In this study, we evaluated the taxonomic ambiguity between B. dorsalis and 2 major cryptic species, based on morphological expertise and 289 target specimens sampled across the whole distribution range. Specimens were then subjected to DNA sequence analyses of the COI mitochondrial barcode and the EIF3L nuclear marker to evaluate the potential for molecular identification, in particular for specimens for which morphological identification was inconclusive. To this aim, we produced reference datasets with DNA sequences from target specimens whose morphological identification was unambiguous, which we complemented with 56 new DNA sequences from closest relatives and 76 published and curated DNA sequences of different species in the complex. After the necessary morphological observation, about 3.5% of the target dataset and 47.6% of the specimens from Southeast Asian islands displayed ambiguous character states shared with B. carambolae and/or B. occipitalis. Critical interpretation of DNA sequence data solved morphological ambiguities only when combining both mitochondrial and nuclear markers. COI discriminated B. dorsalis from 5 species; EIF3L and ITS from another species. We recommend this procedure to ensure correct identification of B. dorsalis specimens in population genetics studies and surveillance programs.

Item Type:Article
Corporate Creators:Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland
Business groups:Biosecurity Queensland
Keywords:mtDNA, nDNA, haplotype diversity, ambiguous identification
Subjects:Science > Entomology
Plant culture > Fruit and fruit culture
Plant pests and diseases > Economic entomology
Live Archive:05 Mar 2024 02:50
Last Modified:05 Mar 2024 02:50

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