Polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism method to distinguish three mealybug groups within the Planococcus citri-P. minor species complex (Hemiptera: Coccoidea: Pseudococcidae).
The mealybug species Planococcus citri (Risso) and Planococcus minor (Maskell) (Hemiptera: Coccoidea: Pseudococcidae) have special significance to U.S. quarantine and U.S. agriculture. Commonly intercepted at U.S. ports-of-entry, they are difficult to identify based on morphological characters. This study presents a molecular method for distinguishing P. citri, P. minor, and a genetically distinct group that is morphologically identical to P. citri, from Hawaii. This method uses polymerase chain reaction (PCR) followed by restriction fragment polymorphism analysis (RFLP) using the restriction enzymes BspH1, BsmH1, and HpH1. The resulting band patterns can be visualized in a 2% agarose gel and are sufficient to differentiate between the three entities mentioned above. PCR-RFLP diagnostics can be used for all life stages and is cheaper and faster than DNA sequencing.