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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 26(6)

DNA barcoding and morphological identification of Argentine species of Apanteles (Hymenoptera : Braconidae), parasitoids of cactus-feeding moths (Lepidoptera : Pyralidae : Phycitinae), with description of a new species

Juan José Martínez A F , Carolina Berta B , Laura Varone C , Guillermo Logarzo C , Paula Zamudio B D , Alejandro Zaldívar-Riverón E and R. Gabriela Aguilar-Velasco E

A CONICET–División Entomología, Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales ‘Bernardino Rivadavia’, Ángel Gallardo 470, C1405DJR, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
B Instituto Superior de Entomología ‘Dr. Abraham Willink’, Universidad Nacional de Tucumán y Fundación Miguel Lillo, San Miguel de Tucumán, Tucumán, Argentina.
C USDA/ARS/South American Biological Control Laboratory, Hurlingham, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
D Departamento de Ciencias Básicas y Tecnológicas, Universidad Nacional de Chilecito, La Rioja, Argentina.
E Colección Nacional de Insectos, Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México DF, México.
F Corresponding author. Email: jjmartinez@macn.gov.ar

Invertebrate Systematics 26(6) 435-444 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/IS12060
Submitted: 8 August 2012  Accepted: 6 September 2012   Published: 19 December 2012

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The gregarious species of Apanteles that attack cactus-feeding phycitine moths (Lepidoptera : Pyralidae) from Argentina are identified using DNA barcodes and morphological data. Sequences of specimens from 10 different populations were generated. Corrected genetic divergences showed two clusters of specimens separated by COI divergences higher than 6%. Our morphological examinations were congruent with the molecular evidence and therefore two species were confidently identified: Apanteles alexanderi Brèthes and a new species, Apanteles opuntiarum Martínez & Berta, sp. nov., which we describe and illustrate. Despite these two taxa being considered to represent a single polyphagous species for at least 50 years, they can be easily distinguished by the length of their ovipositor sheaths. A key to the species of microgastrine parasitoids of cactus-feeding Lepidoptera in South America is provided. The recognition of the new species reveals a narrower host range for the species involved in this system, making it necessary to re-evaluate their potential as biocontrol agents of the prickly pear moth.

Additional keywords: Apanteles alexanderi, Apanteles opuntiarum, biological control, Cactoblastis cactorum, COI, Opuntia, prickly pear.


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