Molecular identification, host range and distribution of Phenacoccus solenopsis Tinsley (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) on ornamental plants in Baghdad governorate, Iraq.
The solenopsis mealybug Phenacoccus solenopsis Tinsley (SMB) (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae), appeared as a major invasive insect pest of many crops in Asia at the commencement of the 21st century. Species recognition is becoming more extensive - range in diagnostics and ecological studies, mainly with regard to insects for which morphological recognition is difficult or time - consuming. We used PCR and DNA nucleotide detection sequence technologies for species characterization. PCR results showed that total nucleotide length was 720 bp. Alignment of above sequence with NCBI database revealed that samples of mealybug adults showed 99% similarity with SMB. Results in case of plants infestation by SMB according to location, revealed that Tagi and Greaat locations were the highest in infestation than others while Baghdad Park was the least, infestation percentage was highest in Osteospermum sp. and least in Carissa macrocarpa. Infestation intensity was highest in Osteospermum sp. and Adhatoda vasica and least in C. macrocarpa. It revealed 21 ornamental plant species belonging to 15 families as SMB hosts with various levels of infestations. The infestation categorized in grades 1- 4 based on the severity of infestation, .revealed three plant species namely, Duranta erecta, .Adhatoda vasica and Hibiscus Rosa-sinensis to be the preferred hosts (grade 4). The 18 others were grouped in grade 1 - 3 with low to moderate infestation.