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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 and dry bulb mite: untangling a taxonomic conundrum through a multidisciplinary approach

Author
item Skoracka, Anna
item Kuczynski, Lechoslaw
item Rector, Brian
item Amrine, James

Submitted to: Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, London
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/17/2013
Publication Date: 1/5/2014
Citation: Skoracka, A., Kuczynski, L., Rector, B.G., Amrine, J.W. 2014. Wheat curl mite and dry bulb mite: untangling a taxonomic conundrum through a multidisciplinary approach. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, London. 111:421-436.

Interpretive Summary: For many years, scientists have encountered difficulty in distinguishing between two important mite pests, the wheat curl mite (WCM; Aceria tosichella) and the dry bulb mite (DBM; Aceria tulipae), due to their small size and morphological similarilty. In this study, data from host-range testing and DNA fingerprints were used to definitively separate these two species. Morphological traits were also identified that effectively separate DBM from one of the most pestiferous lineages of WCM. This data, in particular the DNA fingerprints, will allow acarologists, taxonomists, and pest managers of cereal and bulb crops to efficaciously identify these two pest species.

Technical Abstract: The taxonomy of two economically important eriophyoid species, Aceria tosichella (wheat curl mite, WCM) and A. tulipae (dry bulb mite, DBM), was confounded in the world literature until the late 20th century due to their morphological similarity and ambiguous data from plant-transfer and virus-transmission trials carried out in the 1970s. This confusion likely resulted from a general lack of knowledge about the existence of species complexes within the Eriophyoidea and the inability to genotype tested mites, two issues that were only recently resolved. Here, two WCM genotypes of divergent host specificity (MT-1 and MT-2) and one DBM genotype (genotyping was made on the basis on mtDNA COI and 28S rDNA D2 sequences) underwent host-acceptance testing on various Poaceae, Amarylidaceae, and Liliaceae species that were reported or suspected as hosts of WCM or DBM. Amarylidaceae bulbs were colonized by DBM and one WCM genotype (MT-1). The MT-1 lineage may persist and even reproduce on Amarylidaceae, although it is still better adapted to wheat. Onion- and garlic-associated DBM populations did not colonize tulip, suggesting that DBM is a complex of host-associated species or subspecies rather than a single panmictic, polyphagous species. Morphological analyses identified two traits that could be used to discriminate between DBM and WCM MT-1. In total, these results unambiguously separate WCM and DBM using three different measures of genetic diversity (viz. DNA sequence polymorphism, host-acceptance, morphometrical analysis) and should quell previous taxonomic confusion between these two species.

Last Modified: 09/22/2017
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