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Title: Molecular comparison of Creontiades plant bugs from South Texas and Australia

item Coleman, Randy
item Adamczyk, John
item Goolsby, John

Submitted to: Southwestern Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/28/2008
Publication Date: 6/1/2008
Citation: Coleman, R.J., Hereward, H.P., De Barro, P.J., Frohlich, D.R., Adamczyk Jr, J.J., Goolsby, J. 2008. Molecular comparison of Creontiades plant bugs from South Texas and Australia. Southwestern Entomologist. 33(2):111-117.

Interpretive Summary: A crucial element of integrated pest management is that the targeted pest must be properly identified. A plant bug attacking cotton has only recently come to the attention of pest management specialists in south Texas. Its genus name is Creontiades, but there is confusion as to its specific name, and there was speculation that this bug was actually the same species as the one that attacks cotton and various legumes in Australia. To clarify if the bug found in south Texas is indeed the species from Australia, we used a molecular approach to compare a specific fragment of DNA from populations of bugs from each country. Our analyses indicated that they are not the same species. This study resolved an important issue, i.e., that the plant bug from Texas is not the invasive species from Australia. Further collections of the plant bug from Texas have been made and a plant bug taxonomist has designated that the species is actually Creontiades signatus.

Technical Abstract: Research was conducted to evaluate the possibility that a plant bug damaging cotton in south Texas is actually green mirid, Creontiades dilutus Stål, which is the primary plant bug pest of cotton in Australia. Molecular comparisons targeting a fragment of the CO1 region of mitochondrial DNA were made on Creontiades specimens collected from the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas and specimens of green mirid and brown mirid, C. pacificus Stål, collected from Queensland, Australia. Analyses indicated that the emerging south Texas cotton pest is neither of the species tested from Australia; rather it is a closely related, possibly indigenous species. Further morphological systematics work is needed for determining the identity of the Creontiades species from Texas and collection of additional specimens from several locations where it is known to occur is ongoing.