DEVELOPMENT OF HIGH QUALITY, COST-EFFECTIVE, MASS-REARED BIOCONTROL AGENTS FOR SMALL AND URBAN FARMS, ORGANIC FARMS AND GREENHOUSES
Location: Biological Control of Insects Research
Title: Genetic variation in field and laboratory populations of the spined soldier bug Podisus maculiventris (Say) (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae)
Submitted to: Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 16, 2012
Publication Date: May 2, 2012
Citation: Kneeland, K., Coudron, T.A., Lindroth, E., Stanley, D.W., Foster, J.E. 2012. Genetic variation in field and laboratory populations of the spined soldier bug Podisus maculiventris. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata. 143:120-126.
Interpretive Summary: Long-term agricultural sustainability is severely threatened by widespread use of classical insecticides. Threats include increasing resistance to insecticides and sharply decreasing environmental quality. The concept of biological control of insects is a potentially powerful alternative to classical insecticides. Biological control is based on the idea that direct application of certain insect-specific predators, pathogens and parasites can reduce pest insect populations to a point that the pests exert only negligible economic damage. A major problem, however, is that the high costs of mass-producing beneficial insects restricts global use of these agents. We are working to reduce mass-production costs by artificially selecting lines of predatory insects with increased egg-laying capacity. These selection programs depend on substantial genetic variability within populations of beneficial insects. Here, we document, for the first time, the genetic variability within populations of spined soldier bugs. Scientists who study biological control of insect pests will use this information in future research designed to reduce beneficial insect production costs. Ultimately, this research will benefit growers who produce vegetable crops and the people who consume vegetables.
The predatory spined soldier bug, Podisus maculiventris, is an economically important and high-valued biological control agent. There is substantial information on the biology, ecology, behavior and rearing of this stink bug. However, virtually nothing is known of its genetic variation, in natural or domesticated populations. To address this lacuna, we used amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) to assess the genetic variability of field and laboratory populations. Four AFLP universal primer combinations yielded a total of 209 usable loci. The AFLP results showed greater genetic variability between populations from Missouri and Mississippi, and relatively low variability within Missouri populations. We infer little genetic isolation among Missouri field populations and within domesticated populations, but a significant genetic isolation between Missouri and Mississippi populations.