Towards a global DNA barcode reference library for quarantine identifications of lepidopteran stemborers, with an emphasis on sugarcane pests

Lee, Timothy R. C. ; Anderson, Stacey J. ; Tran-Nguyen, Lucy T . T . ; Sallam, Nader ; Ru, Bruno P . Le ; Conlong, Desmond ; Powell, Kevin ; Ward, Andrew ; Mitchell, Andrew (2019)

CITATION: Lee, T. R. C., et al. 2019. Towards a global DNA barcode reference library for quarantine identifications of lepidopteran stemborers, with an emphasis on sugarcane pests. Scientific Reports, 9:7039, doi:10.1038/s41598-019-42995-0.

The original publication is available at https://www.nature.com

Article

Lepidopteran stemborers are among the most damaging agricultural pests worldwide, able to reduce crop yields by up to 40%. Sugarcane is the world’s most prolific crop, and several stemborer species from the families Noctuidae, Tortricidae, Crambidae and Pyralidae attack sugarcane. Australia is currently free of the most damaging stemborers, but biosecurity efforts are hampered by the difficulty in morphologically distinguishing stemborer species. Here we assess the utility of DNA barcoding in identifying stemborer pest species. We review the current state of the COI barcode sequence library for sugarcane stemborers, assembling a dataset of 1297 sequences from 64 species. Sequences were from specimens collected and identified in this study, downloaded from BOLD or requested from other authors. We performed species delimitation analyses to assess species diversity and the effectiveness of barcoding in this group. Seven species exhibited <0.03 K2P interspecific diversity, indicating that diagnostic barcoding will work well in most of the studied taxa. We identified 24 instances of identification errors in the online database, which has hampered unambiguous stemborer identification using barcodes. Instances of very high within-species diversity indicate that nuclear markers (e.g. 18S, 28S) and additional morphological data (genitalia dissection of all lineages) are needed to confirm species boundaries.

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