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IDENTIFICATION KEY TO SCARABAEID BEETLE LARVAE ATTACKING SUGARCANE IN SOUTH AFRICA USING DNA BARCODING AND INTEGRATIVE TAXONOMY

By Harrison J Du G and Mitchell A

Abstract

Scarabaeid pests in South Africa and especially KwaZulu-Natal are characterised by a very long larval life cycle and short pupal and adult periods. However, it has nearly always been the adults of the species that have been identified, with very little attention paid to larval identification. This is unfortunate, as it is mainly the larval stage that is found to be associated with crop damage. Inadequate keys for the taxonomy of larvae of these groups, as well as the lack of taxonomists working on these groups have been identified as constraints. Using mitochondrial DNA data variation in the base pair sequence of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase sub unit I (cox 1) gene, sequences of cox 1 from scarabaeid larvae collected from sugarcane fields were compared with sequences from scarabaeid adults of known species in order to identify the species attacking sugarcane. The major groupings delimited specimens belonging to the subfamilies Dynastinae, Melolonthinae and Rutelinae. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) of larval specimens was linked with mtDNA of identified adult specimens through phylogenetic analysis. This allowed the identification of those larvae through morphological characteristics unique to certain species. Keys were produced during this study which wil

Year: 2014
OAI identifier: oai:CiteSeerX.psu:10.1.1.409.9660
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