Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/2001
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: The leafmining flies Liriomyza huidobrensis and L. langei (Diptera: Agromyzidae) are pests of many vegetable and flower crops including peas, beans, melons, onions, tomatoes, potatoes, celery, garlic, lettuce, chrysanthemums, and carnations. During outbreaks, these insects can cause severe damage to these crops, resulting in substantial economic losses. Unfortunately, these two species are morphologically cryptic and can only be differentiated using molecular methods. This paper presents a new molecular protocol for differentiating these two species that is faster and less expensive than previous methods. We apply this new method to three recent invasions of leafminer populations and find that the invasive species in all three cases is L. huidobrensis. This research is of interest to and will be used by researchers, pest management specialists, and quarantine officials working with pest leafminers.
Technical Abstract: A molecular method is presented for differentiating the morphologically cryptic leafminers Liriomyza langei Frick and L. huidobrensis (Blanchard). This method requires PCR amplification of a 1031 bp region of mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase DNA followed by restriction fragment analysis using the restriction enzymes SpeI and EcoRV. This method is faster and less costly than DNA sequencing which is currently the only other way to differentiate these species. We apply the method to samples from three recently introduced leafminer populations in Sri Lanka, Canada, and South Africa and find that the invasive leafminer in all three locations is L. huidobrensis.