Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

High genetic diversity in a 'recent outbreak' spider mite, Tetranychus pueraricola, in mainland China.

Abstract

Tetranychus pueraricola is a newly reported spider mite that occurs frequently in mainland China. It is possible that this species was introduced from elsewhere and became a serious pest recently. However, the correct identification of red-pigmented spider mites has repeatedly proven problematic. There is also the possibility that T. pueraricola in China was long misidentified as its sibling species, Tetranychus urticae (red form). To test which of these two scenarios is the more likely, individuals from 14 populations of T. pueraricola and five populations of T. urticae (red form) in China were sampled and genotyped using mitochondrial COI and microsatellite loci. Unlike a recent invasive species, the genetic diversity of T. pueraricola was very high with high mitochondrial genetic diversity (16 haplotypes), high effective alleles (Ne=2.038±0.081) and expected heterozygosity (He=0.395±0.016). Surprisingly, we found that all T. urticae (red form) populations shared only one mitochondrial haplotype and showed quite low genetic diversity (Ne=1.443±0.055; He=0.234±0.025) which was even lower than that of the green form of T. urticae in mainland China from a previous study. We did not detect significant signals of recent bottlenecks for most populations from both species. These results suggest T. pueraricola is unlikely to be a recent invasive pest but a species that has existed in China for a long time. It is probable that T. pueraricola in China has long been misidentified as T. urticae (red form).