Parasitoid wasps have received a great deal of attention in the biological control of melon-cotton aphid (Aphis gossypii Glover). The species of parasitoids are often difficult to identify because of their small body size and profound diversity. DNA barcoding offers scientists who are not expert taxonomists a powerful tool to render their field studies more accurate. Using DNA barcodes to identify aphid parasitoid wasps in specific cropping systems may provide valuable information for biological control. Here, we report the use of DNA barcoding to confirm the morphological identification of 14 species (belonging to 13 genera of 7 families) of parasitoid wasps from two-year field samples in a watermelon cropping system. We generated DNA sequences from the mitochondrial COI gene and the nuclear D2 region of 28S rDNA to assess the genetic variation within and between parasitoid species. Automatic Barcode Gap Discovery (ABGD) supported the presence of 14 genetically distinct groups in the dataset. Among the COI sequences, we found no overlap between the maximum K2P distance within species (0.49%) and minimum distance between species (6.85%). The 28S sequences also showed greater interspecific distance than intraspecific distance. DNA barcoding confirmed the morphological identification. However, inconsistency and ambiguity of taxonomic information available in the online databases has limited the successful use of DNA barcoding. Only five species matched those in the BOLD and GenBank. Four species did not match the entries in GenBank and five species showed ambiguous results in BOLD due to confusing nomenclature. We suggested that species identification based on DNA barcodes should be performed using both COI and other genes. Nonetheless, we demonstrate the potential of the DNA barcoding approach to confirm field identifications and to provide a foundation for studies aimed at improving the understanding of the biocontrol services provided by parasitoids in the melon ecosystem.
BioControl – Springer Journals
Published: May 31, 2018
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