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Date: 10 Oct 2011
Pub: Bulletin of Entomological Research
Author(s): Beltrà A, Soto A, Malausa T.
Mealybugs (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) are common invasive pests in Europe, causing major problems on crops and ornamental plants. However, very few data are available concerning the mealybug fauna of southern Europe. This lack of data and the difficulty of identifying mealybugs morphologically by traditional techniques currently limit the perspectives for efficient specific pest management. The aim of this study was to provide multi-criterion characterization of mealybugs surveyed in eastern Spain in order to facilitate their routine identification through DNA sequencing or the use of derived species-specific molecular tools. We characterised 33 mealybug populations infesting crops and ornamental plants in eastern Spain, using a combination of molecular and morphological techniques, including the sequencing of the universal barcode DNA region cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI). This characterisation has led to the identification of ten species and provides sequence data for three previously unsequenced species, contributing to the phylogenetic knowledge of the family Pseudococcidae. In addition, the intraspecific variations found in the populations of five mealybug species provide insight into their invasion history.