Integrative taxonomy methods reveal high mealybug (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) diversity in southern Brazilian fruit crops.
ABSTRACT: The Serra Gaúcha region is the most important temperate fruit-producing area in southern Brazil. Despite mealybugs (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) infesting several host plants in the region, there is a lack of information about the composition of species damaging different crops. A survey of mealybug species associated with commercial fruit crops (apple, persimmon, strawberry and grapes) was performed in Serra Gaúcha between 2013 and 2015, using both morphology and DNA analyses for species identification. The most abundant species were Pseudococcus viburni (Signoret), found on all four host plant species, and Dysmicoccus brevipes (Cockerell), infesting persimmon, vines and weeds. The highest diversity of mealybug species was found on persimmon trees, hosting 20 different taxa, of which Anisococcus granarae Pacheco da Silva & Kaydan, D. brevipes, Pseudococcus sociabilis Hambleton and Ps. viburni were the most abundant. A total of nine species were recorded in vineyards. Planococcus ficus (Signoret) and Pseudococcus longispinus (Targioni Tozzetti) were observed causing damage to grapes for the first time. A single species, Ps. viburni, was found associated with apples, while both Ps. viburni and Ferrisia meridionalis Williams were found on strawberry. Four of the mealybug species found represent new records for Brazil.
Project description:Mealybugs (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) are pests constraining the international trade of Brazilian table grapes. They damage grapes by transmitting viruses and toxins, causing defoliation, chlorosis, and vigor losses and favoring the development of sooty mold. Difficulties in mealybug identification remain an obstacle to the adequate management of these pests. In this study, our primary aim was to identify the principal mealybug species infesting the major table grape-producing regions in Brazil, by morphological and molecular characterization. Our secondary aim was to develop a rapid identification kit based on species-specific Polymerase Chain Reactions, to facilitate the routine identification of the most common pest species. We surveyed 40 sites infested with mealybugs and identified 17 species: Dysmicoccus brevipes (Cockerell), Dysmicoccus sylvarum Williams and Granara de Willink, Dysmicoccus texensis (Tinsley), Ferrisia cristinae Kaydan and Gullan, Ferrisia meridionalis Williams, Ferrisia terani Williams and Granara de Willink, Phenacoccus baccharidis Williams, Phenacoccus parvus Morrison, Phenacoccus solenopsis Tinsley, Planococcus citri (Risso), Pseudococcus viburni (Signoret), Pseudococcus cryptus Hempel, four taxa closely related each of to Pseudococcus viburni, Pseudococcus sociabilis Hambleton, Pseudococcus maritimus (Ehrhorn) and Pseudococcus meridionalis Prado, and one specimen from the genus Pseudococcus Westwood. The PCR method developed effectively identified five mealybug species of economic interest on grape in Brazil: D. brevipes, Pl. citri, Ps. viburni, Ph. solenopsis and Planococcus ficus (Signoret). Nevertheless, it is not possible to assure that this procedure is reliable for taxa that have not been sampled already and might be very closely related to the target species.
Project description:The present study aimed to characterize the distribution of mealybug species along Chilean agro-ecosystems and to determine the relative impact of host plant, management strategy, geography and micro-environment on shaping the distribution and genetic structure of the obscure mealybug Pseudococcus viburni. An extensive survey was completed using DNA barcoding methods to identify Chilean mealybugs to the species level. Moreover, a fine-scale study of Ps. viburni genetic diversity and population structure was carried out, genotyping 529 Ps. viburni individuals with 21 microsatellite markers. Samples from 16 localities were analyzed using Bayesian and spatially-explicit methods and the genetic dataset was confronted to host-plant, management and environmental data. Chilean crops were found to be infested by Ps. viburni, Pseudococcus meridionalis, Pseudococcus longispinus and Planococcus citri, with Ps. viburni and Ps. meridionalis showing contrasting distribution and host-plant preference patterns. Ps. viburni samples presented low genetic diversity levels but high genetic differentiation. While no significant genetic variance could be assigned to host-plant or management strategy, climate and geography were found to correlate significantly with genetic differentiation levels. The genetic characterization of Ps. viburni within Chile will contribute to future studies tracing back the origin and improving the management of this worldwide invader.
Project description:Brazil has the greatest insect diversity in the world; however, little is known about its scale insect species (Hemiptera: Coccomorpha). Mealybugs (Pseudococcidae) have been found in at least 50% of persimmon orchards Diospyros kaki L. in the southern part of the country. In this study three new mealybug species on persimmon trees located in the Serra Gaúcha Region, RS, Brazil, namely, Anisococcus granarae Pacheco da Silva & Kaydan, sp. n., Ferrisia kaki Kaydan & Pacheco da Silva, sp. n. and Pseudococcus rosangelae Pacheco da Silva & Kaydan, sp. n. are described. In addition, an identification key for the genera occurring on fruit orchards and vineyards in Brazil is provided, together with illustrations and molecular data for the new species.
Project description:Microscopic localization of endosymbiotic bacteria in three species of mealybug (Pseudococcus longispinus, the long-tailed mealybug; Pseudococcus calceolariae, the citrophilus mealybug; and Pseudococcus viburni, the obscure mealybug) showed these organisms were confined to bacteriocyte cells within a bacteriome centrally located within the hemocoel. Two species of bacteria were present, with the secondary endosymbiont, in all cases, living within the primary endosymbiont. DNA from the dissected bacteriomes of all three species of mealybug was extracted for analysis. Sequence data from selected 16S rRNA genes confirmed identification of the primary endosymbiont as "Candidatus Tremblaya princeps," a betaproteobacterium, and the secondary endosymbionts as gammaproteobacteria closely related to Sodalis glossinidius. A single 16S rRNA sequence of the primary endosymbiont was found in all individuals of each mealybug species. In contrast, the presence of multiple divergent strains of secondary endosymbionts in each individual mealybug suggests different evolutionary and transmission histories of the two endosymbionts. Mealybugs are known vectors of the plant pathogen Grapevine leafroll-associated virus 3. To examine the possible role of either endosymbiont in virus transmission, an extension of the model for interaction of proteins with bacterial chaperonins, i.e., GroEL protein homologs, based on mobile-loop amino acid sequences of their GroES homologs, was developed and used for analyses of viral coat protein interactions. The data from this model are consistent with a role for the primary endosymbiont in mealybug transmission of Grapevine leafroll-associated virus 3.
Project description:Mealybugs (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) are economically significant agricultural pests on many different crops. Because of their small size and lack of easily visible characters for identification, determination of their taxonomic status is difficult and requires technical competency to prepare a slide-mounted specimen. The standard mounting technique does not allow for analysis of the genome of the specimen. Conversely, preparatory techniques for genetic analysis of mealybugs cause either loss of the entire individual or physical damage that can make morphology-based identification difficult. This study describes a simple protocol that does not impact physical integrity of the specimen for fixation and microscopic examination yet enables simultaneous DNA extraction for DNA-based identification of four mealybug species. All species prepared yielded high quality slide mounts, identified as Planococcus citri Risso, Pseudococcus viburni Signoret, Rhizoecus kondonis Kuwana, or Rhizoecus californicus Ferris. DNA extracted in this manner had higher purity and yield in the final eluate than in samples extracted using standard methods. DNA extracted was successfully amplified by polymerase chain reaction using primers for the cytochrome oxidase I gene and subsequently sequenced for all specimens. This protocol is likely to be applicable to other Hemiptera taxa that are preserved by slide mounting, allowing for both the preparation of a high-quality voucher specimen for morphological identification and simultaneous analysis of DNA for the same specimen. The methods used are technically less challenging than current standard procedures.
Project description:Many insect species establish mutualistic symbiosis with intracellular bacteria that complement their unbalanced diets. The betaproteobacterium "Candidatus Tremblaya" maintains an ancient symbiosis with mealybugs (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae), which are classified in subfamilies Phenacoccinae and Pseudococcinae. Most Phenacoccinae mealybugs have "Candidatus Tremblaya phenacola" as their unique endosymbiont, while most Pseudococcinae mealybugs show a nested symbiosis (a bacterial symbiont placed inside another one) where every "Candidatus Tremblaya princeps" cell harbors several cells of a gammaproteobacterium. Genomic characterization of the endosymbiotic consortium from Planococcus citri, composed by "Ca. Tremblaya princeps" and "Candidatus Moranella endobia," unveiled several atypical features of the former's genome, including the concerted evolution of paralogous loci. Its comparison with the genome of "Ca. Tremblaya phenacola" PAVE, single endosymbiont of Phenacoccus avenae, suggests that the atypical reductive evolution of "Ca. Tremblaya princeps" could be linked to the acquisition of "Ca. Moranella endobia," which possess an almost complete set of genes encoding proteins involved in homologous recombination. In order to test this hypothesis, we performed comparative genomics between "Ca. Tremblaya phenacola" and "Ca. Tremblaya princeps" and searched for the co-occurrence of concerted evolution and homologous recombination genes in endosymbiotic consortia from four unexplored mealybug species, Dysmicoccus boninsis, Planococcus ficus, Pseudococcus longispinus, and Pseudococcus viburni. Our results support a link between concerted evolution and nested endosymbiosis.
Project description:Grapevine Roditis leaf discoloration-associated virus (GRLDaV) is an emerging grapevine pathogen included in the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO) alert list due to its ability to damage grapevine crops and cause production losses. This work aimed to develop a specific and reliable diagnostic tool that would contribute to preventing the spread of this pathogen. Therefore, a TaqMan real-time quantitative PCR was developed. The method was validated according to EPPO guidelines showing a high degree of analytical sensitivity, analytical specificity, selectivity, and repeatability and reproducibility. The sensitivity of this method is much higher than the sensitivity reached by previously reported methods even when tested in crude extracts, which could allow rapid testing by avoiding nucleic acid extraction steps. The method was also able to detect GRLDaV isolates from all the geographic origins reported so far, despite their high degree of genetic diversity. In addition, this new technique has been successfully applied for the quantitative detection of GRLDaV in plant material and two mealybug species, Planococcus citri and Pseudococcus viburni. In conclusion, the methodology developed herein represents a significant contribution to the diagnosis and control of this emerging pathogen in grapevine.
Project description:Occurrence of inter-species hybrids in natural populations might be evidence of gene flow between species. In the present study we found evidence of gene flow between two sympatric, genetically related scale insect species--the citrus mealybug Planococcus citri (Risso) and the vine mealybug Planococcus ficus (Signoret). These species can be distinguished by morphological, behavioral, and molecular traits. We employed the sex pheromones of the two respective species to study their different patterns of male attraction. We also used nuclear ITS2 (internal transcribed spacer 2) and mitochondrial COI (Cytochrome c oxidase sub unit 1) DNA sequences to characterize populations of the two species, in order to demonstrate the outcome of a possible gene flow between feral populations of the two species. Our results showed attraction to P. ficus pheromones of all tested populations of P. citri males but not vice versa. Furthermore, ITS2 sequences revealed the presence of 'hybrid females' among P. citri populations but not among those of P. ficus. 'hybrid females' from P. citri populations identified as P. citri females according to COI sequences. We offer two hypotheses for these results. 1) The occurrence of phenotypic and genotypic traits of P. ficus in P. citri populations may be attributed to both ancient and contemporary gene flow between their populations; and 2) we cannot rule out that an ancient sympatric speciation by which P. ficus emerged from P. citri might have led to the present situation of shared traits between these species. In light of these findings we also discuss the origin of the studied species and the importance of the pherotype phenomenon as a tool with which to study genetic relationships between congener scale insects.
Project description:Sex pheromones play a central role in intersexual communication for reproduction in many organisms. Particularly in insects, reproductive isolation that leads to speciation is often achieved by shifts of pheromone chemistries. However, the divergence and evolution of pheromones remain largely unknown. This study reveals a unique evolutionary consequence for terpenoid pheromones in coccoid insects. Coccoids, such as mealybugs, show clear sexual dimorphism: males are dwarf and short-lived, whereas females are wingless and almost immobile. Female pheromones are therefore indispensable for males to navigate for sexual reproduction, but some females can reproduce asexually. Interestingly, a derived asexual lineage that reproduces by parthenogenesis coexists with its ancestral lineage that reproduces sexually in a population of the pineapple mealybug, Dysmicoccus brevipes Here, we isolated, characterized and synthesized a novel monoterpene, (-)-(anti-1,2-dimethyl-3-methylenecyclopentyl)acetaldehyde, as a pheromone of the sexual females of Dbrevipes This monoterpene aldehyde, with an irregular linkage of isoprene units, is notable, because all mealybug pheromones previously reported are carboxylic esters of terpenols. This compound was, however, never produced by the asexual females. As a consequence of acquiring parthenogenetic reproduction, the asexual females appear to have abandoned the production of the sex pheromone, which had been essential to attracting males in their ancestors.