Molecular detection method developed to track the koinobiont larval parasitoid Apanteles opuntiarum (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) imported from Argentina to control Cactoblastis cactorum (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae)

  • Mrittunjai Srivastava Division of Plant Industry, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
  • Pratibha Srivastava Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry, Gainesville, Florida 32611, USA
  • Ratna Karan Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry, Gainesville, Florida 32611, USA
  • Ayyamperumal Jeyaprakash Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry, Gainesville, Florida 32611, USA
  • Leroy Whilby Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry, Gainesville, Florida 32611, USA
  • Eric Rohrig Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry, Gainesville, Florida 32611, USA
  • Amy C Howe Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry, Gainesville, Florida 32611, USA
  • Stephen D Hight USDA-ARS, 6383 Mahan Drive, Tallahassee, Florida 32308 USA
  • Laura Varone Fundación para el Estudio de Especies Invasivas, Hurlingham, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Abstract

Apanteles opuntiarum Martínez & Berta (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) is a native natural enemy of the cactus moth, Cactoblastis cactorum Berg (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) in Argentina, where the 2 species are believed to have co-evolved. Cactoblastis cactorum is an established invasive pest in the US that is rapidly spreading throughout the southeast. Apanteles opuntiarum was imported from Argentina, and reared at the Division of Plant Industry containment facility in Gainesville, Florida, for study as a possible biocontrol agent for release in the US to control C. cactorum. A DNA barcode was developed to enable the identification of the reared parasitoid population. The mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (COI) gene of the A. opuntiarum reared in Florida containment was found to be identical to its Argentine founders, but distinctly different from the COI sequences of all other reported Apanteles species in the NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) GenBank. Additionally, the AoF1 and AoR1 primer pair developed in this study specifically amplified the COI gene of A. opuntiarum, but did not amplify the COI gene of the host C. cactorum. Therefore, the COI gene fragment identified in this study has the potential to be used as a DNA barcode specific to A. opuntiarum that can aid in tracking and identifying this parasitoid inside hosts.

 

 

Resumen

Apanteles opuntiarum Martínez & Berta (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) es un enemigo natural de la polilla de la tuna Cactoblastis cactorum Berg (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) en Argentina, su rango nativo, donde han co-evolucionado. Cactoblastis cactorum es una especie invasora establecida en Estados Unidos, que se está dispersando rápidamente hacia el sudeste de este país. Apanteles opuntiarum fue importado desde Argentina y es criado en la cuarentena de Gainesville, Florida (Division of Plant Industry), donde está siendo evaluado como posible agente de control de C. cactorum, para ser liberado en Estados Unidos. Se desarrolló un código de barras de ADN para permitir la identificación de la población de parasitoides criada. Se encontró que el gen de la citocromo oxidasa mitocondrial I (COI) de los A. opuntiarum criados en Florida fue idéntico al de sus fundadores argentinos, y claramente diferente de las secuencias de COI de todas las demás especies de Apanteles reportados en el GenBank del NCBI (Centro Nacional de información sobre biotecnología). Además, el par “primer” AoF1 y AoR1 desarrollado en este estudio amplificó específicamente el gen COI de A. opuntiarum, y no amplificó el gen de la COI del hospedador C. cactorum. Por lo tanto, el fragmento del gen COI identificado en este estudio tiene el potencial para ser utilizados como un código de barras de ADN específico para A. opuntiarum que puede ayudar en el seguimiento y la identificación de este parasitoide dentro de los hospedadores.

Key Words: biological control; host range tests; Opuntia; parasitoids; COI gene; DNA barcode

View this article in BioOne https://doi.org/10.1653/024.102.0207

 

Author Biography

Mrittunjai Srivastava, Division of Plant Industry, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Biological Scientist IV

Methods Development & Biological Control

Division of Plant Industry

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Published
2019-07-31
Section
Research Papers