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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Reno, Nevada » Great Basin Rangelands Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #350725

Research Project: Integrating Ecological Process Knowledge into Effective Management of Invasive Plants in Great Basin Rangelands

Location: Great Basin Rangelands Research

Title: A new Aculodes species (Prostigmata: Eriophyoidea: Eriophyidae) associated with medusahead, Taeniatherum caput-medusae (L.) Nevski (Poaceae)

item DE LILLO, ENRICO - University Of Bari
item VIDOVIC, BILJANA - University Of Belgrade
item PETANOVIC, RADMILA - University Of Belgrade
item CRISTOFARO, MASSIMO - Biotechnology And Biological Control Agency
item MARINI, FRENCESCA - Biotechnology And Biological Control Agency
item AUGE, MATTHEW - Biotechnology And Biological Control Agency
item CYRKOVIC, TATJANA - Institute For Plant Protection And Environment
item BABIC, EMILIJA - University Of Belgrade
item MATTIA, CHIARA - National P[ark Of Alta Murgia
item LOTFOLLAHI, PARISA - Azarbaijan Shahid Madani University
item Rector, Brian

Submitted to: Systematic and Applied Acarology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/21/2018
Publication Date: 6/28/2018
Citation: De Lillo, E., Vidovic, B., Petanovic, R., Cristofaro, M., Marini, F., Auge, M., Cyrkovic, T., Babic, E., Mattia, C., Lotfollahi, P., Rector, B.G. 2018. A new Aculodes species (Prostigmata: Eriophyoidea: Eriophyidae) associated with medusahead, Taeniatherum caput-medusae (L.) Nevski (Poaceae). Systematic and Applied Acarology. 23(7):1217-1226.

Interpretive Summary: Medusahead is a grass that is native to Eurasia and invasive in the western USA. It is unpalatable to livestock and when dry it provides highly flammable tinder to start and carry wildfires. ARS-Reno has been searching in Eurasia for natural enemies of medusahead as potential biological control agents. Aculodes altamurgiensis is a new species of mite that was discovered by ARS-Reno in 2014 on medusahead plants growing near Bari, Italy. This manuscript provides a scientific description of A. altamurgiensis, which was previously unknown to science. The next step will be to study this mite’s host range to determine if A. altamurgiensis is suitable for importation and release in the USA as a biocontrol agent of medusahead.

Technical Abstract: A new species of plant mite (Acari: Eriophyidae) was discovered on medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae), an annual grass that is native to central Asia and the Mediterranean Basin. It is invasive in western North America. Aculodes altamurgiensis sp. nov., is described here and differentiated from other Aculodes spp., on the basis of morphology. Its DNA fingerprinting was reported and compared with Aculodes mckenziei collected from Elymus repens. Pairwise comparison of MT-CO1 sequences between A. altamurgiensis sp. nov., and A. mckenziei revealed 20.2% genetic divergence between these congeneric species. First collected in Parco Nazionale dell’Alta Murgia in Apulia, Italy in 2014, A. altamurgiensis sp. nov., has been subsequently collected from medusahead in Serbia, Bulgaria, Iran and Turkey. Based on these data and on preliminary observations on the effects of the mite on plant growth, A. altamurgiensis sp. nov., is currently being investigated as a candidate biological control agent of medusahead.