Molecular and morphological variability within the Aphidius colemani group with redescription of Aphidius platensis Brethes (Hymenoptera: Braconidae: Aphidiinae)



Tomanović Z, Petrović A, Mitrović M, Kavallieratos NG, Starý P, Rakhshani E, Rakhshanipour M, Popović A, Shukshuk AH, Ivanović A.


Bull Entomol Res. 2014 Oct;104(5):552-65. doi: 10.1017/S0007485314000327. Epub 2014 May 12.


We have identified the following three taxa related to the Aphidius colemani species group, which are important biological control agents: Aphidius colemani, Aphidius transcaspicus and Aphidius platensis. Using partial sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I (mtCOI) gene and geometric morphometric analysis of the forewing shape, we have explored the genetic structure and morphological variability of the A. colemani group from different aphid host/plant associations covering a wide distribution area. The topology of the maximum parsimony and maximum likelihood trees were identical with 98-100% bootstrap support, clustering A. colemani, A. platensis and A. transcaspicus into separate species. The distances among the taxa ranged from 2.2 to 4.7%, which is a common rate for the between-species divergence within the subfamily Aphidiinae. Differences in the shape of the forewing investigated within the biotypes of A. colemani group are congruent with their genetic diversification. Both A. platensis and A. colemani share a common host range pattern, and it would be interesting to estimate and compare the role of these two species in future biological control strategies against aphids of economic importance. Our results indicate that ‘genetic screening’ is a reliable approach for identification within the A. colemani group. The high variation in the wing shape among species, including a significant divergence in the wing shape among specimens that emerged from different hosts, makes the forewing shape and wing venation less reliable for species determination. Aphidius platensis is diagnostified and redescribed, and the key for the A. colemani group is presented.

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Link/DOI: 10.1017/S0007485314000327