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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Systematic Entomology Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #373359

Research Project: Plant Feeding Mite (Acari) Systematics

Location: Systematic Entomology Laboratory

Title: Detection of the Lychee Erinose Mite, Aceria litchii (Keifer) (Acari; Eriophyidae) in Florida, USA; A comparison with other alien populations

item CARRILLO, DANIEL - University Of Florida
item CRUZ, LUSIA - University Of Florida
item REVYNTHI, ALEXANDER - University Of Florida
item DUNCAN, RITA - University Of Florida
item Bauchan, Gary
item Ochoa, Ronald - Ron
item BOLTON, S. - Florida Department Of Agriculture And Consumer Services
item KENDRA, PAUL - University Of Florida

Submitted to: Insects
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/9/2020
Publication Date: 4/29/2020
Citation: Carrillo, D., Cruz, L.F., Revynthi, A.M., Duncan, R.E., Bauchan, G.R., Ochoa, R., Bolton, S.J., Kendra, P.E. 2020. Detection of the Lychee Erinose Mite, Aceria litchii (Keifer) (Acari; Eriophyidae) in Florida, USA; A comparison with other alien populations. Insects. 11(235):1-12.

Interpretive Summary: Lychee trees produce a red skinned white fleshed berry that has become a popular health food in the US due to it’s high vitamen C content and many B complex vitamens. The microscopic four legged lychee mite is a serious pest of the lychee tree. Where the mite has been found it can cause 70-80% reduction in yield. In 2018 these mites were discovered in Florida attaching a commersial production area. Comparitive morphological and molecular studies conducted in collaboration with scientists with the USDA-ARS, Beltsville, MD; the University of Florida, Homestead, FL; and the Florida State Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Gainsville, FL of the Florida mite to lychee mites from Hawaii, Australia, Brazil, India and Taiwan have shown that all of the mites are the same species with the exception of those obtained from Australia. Quaranteen control measures have been put into place to prevent the spread of this pest in Florida with additional pest control measures being considered in areas that are already infested. These findings are of interest to entomologists, biological control scientists, lychee growers and consumers as well as USDA-APHIS border inspectors

Technical Abstract: The Lychee Erinose Mite (LEM), Aceria litchii (Keifer) is a serious pest of lychee (Litchi chinensis Sonn.). LEM causes a type of gall called an erineum (abnormal felty growth of trichomes from the epidermis), where it feeds, reproduces and protects itself from biotic and abiotic adversities. In February of 2018, LEM was found in a commercial lychee orchard on Pine Island, Florida. Infestations were recorded on young leaves, stems, and inflorescences of approximately 30 young trees (1.5–3.0 yrs.) of three lychee varieties presenting abundant new growth. Although LEM is present in Hawaii, this mite is a prioritized quarantine pest in the continental U.S.A. and its territories. Florida LEM specimens showed small morphological differences from the original taxonomic descriptions of Keifer (1943) and Huang (2008). The observed differences are probably an artifact of the drawings in the original descriptions. Molecular comparisons were conducted on the DNA of LEM specimens from India, Hawaii, Brazil, Taiwan, Australia and Florida. The amplified COI fragment showed very low nucleotide variation among the locations and thus, could be used for accurate LEM identification. The ITS1 sequences and partial 5.8S fragments displayed no nucleotide differences for specimens from any of the locations except Australia. Consistent differences were observed in the ITS2 and 28S fragments. The ITS1-ITS2 concatenated phylogeny yielded two lineages, with Australia in one group and Hawaii, India, Brazil, Florida and Taiwan in another. Specimens from Taiwan and Florida present identical ITS and rDNA segments, suggesting a common origin; however, analysis of additional sequences is needed to confirm the origin of the Florida population.