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Analysis of mitochondrial COI sequences of the Diachasmimorpha longicaudata (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) species complex in Thailand

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Abstract

Diachasmimorpha longicaudata is an Opiinae parasitoid used to control tephritid fruit flies, which cause tremendous economic losses of fruits worldwide. In Thailand, D. longicaudata is classified as three sibling species, DLA, DLB and DLBB, based on the morphological and biological species concepts but their genetic variation has not been studied. Therefore, we investigated the genetic differentiation of the mitochondrial COI gene to clarify the ambiguous taxonomy of this species complex. The 603-bp COI region was sequenced from laboratory-bred colonies and field-collected specimens from seven locations representing five geographical regions in Thailand. DLA was associated with the host Bactrocera correcta while DLB and DLBB were associated with Bactrocera dorsalis. The interspecific nucleotide differences of COI sequences among the three groups ranged from 6.70% to 7.62% (Kimura 2-parameter distance), which adequately separates species complexes within the order Hymenoptera and supports the current sibling species classification. The neighbor joining, maximum likelihood and consensus Bayesian phylogenetic trees constructed from COI sequences revealed that the three sibling species of laboratory and field-collected D. longicaudata are monophyletic with 100% support. The high genetic variation and molecular phylogeny of the COI sequences were shown to discriminate between the D. longicaudata species examined in this study.

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