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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Ecological Interactions in Integrated and Biologically-Based Management of Invasive Plant Species in Western Rangelands

Location: Great Basin Rangelands Research

Title: Wheat curl mite (Aceria tosichella s.l.) cryptic biotypes with divergent host ranges: Implications for using Eriophyidae for biological control of invasive grasses

Authors
item RECTOR, BRIAN
item Skoracka, Anna -
item Kuczynski, Lech -

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: August 8, 2012
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Host-specificity is the most important criterion for biological control agents (BCAs) and is particularly important for BCAs of invasive grasses that are close relatives of grass crop species. Plant-feeding mites in the family Eriophyidae are often highly host-specific. A study was conducted on the wheat curl mite (WCM), a global pest of cereals with an unusually broad host range for an eriophyid, with more than 80 recorded host species. The host range of WCM populations that were collected from five different grass species in the field, including wheat and four wild species, was tested by transferring mites from their source hosts to other test plants. More than 200 individual mites from these five populations were analyzed using a genetic fingerprinting technique after being tested for host-range. Seven different genetic strains were identified, each with a different host range, indicating that WCM may represent a group of closely related species with different host ranges, from highly host-specific to generalist, rather than a single species with an unusually wide host range. Some WCM strains were highly specific to wild grass hosts without attacking wheat. These results have implications for the potential utility of eriophyid mites as BCAs of invasive grasses that won’t attack closely related crops.

Last Modified: 9/29/2014
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