Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

A real-time PCR toolbox for accurate identification of invasive fruit fly species.

Abstract

Significant plant pests such as fruit flies that travel with fresh produce between countries as eggs or larvae pose a great economic threat to the agriculture and fruit industry worldwide. Time-limited and expensive quarantine decisions require accurate identification of such pests. Immature stages are often impossible to identify, making them a serious concern for biosecurity agencies. Use of COI barcoding PCR, often the only molecular identification resource, is time-consuming. We assess the suitability of the COI barcoding region for real-time PCR assays to identify four pest fruit fly species (Family: Tephritidae), in a diagnostic framework. These species, namely Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata), Queensland fruit fly (Bactrocera tryoni), African invader fly (Bactrocera invadens) and Island fly (Dirioxa pornia) each provide a different set of genetic species delimitation problems. We discuss the benefits and limitations of using a single-gene TaqManTM real-time approach for such species. Our results indicate that COI-based TaqManTM real-time PCR assays, in particular for genetically distinct species, provide an accurate, sensitive and rapid diagnostic tool.