Molecular identification of six species of scale insects (Quadraspidiotus sp.) by RAPD-PCR: assessing the field-specificity of pheromone traps



The San-José Scale Quadraspidiotus perniciosus (SJS) is a quarantine pest in Switzerland. Its occurrence is monitored by trapping males on glue traps treated with artificial female sex pheromone that is supposed to be species-specific. However, large numbers of males were caught in locations where, for ecological reasons, this species was not expected to occur, suggesting that the pheromone is attractive for one or several otrter scale species. Because no morphological species determination key is described for males of this genus, it was not possible to test this hypothesis until now. We used randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD-PCR) to establish a molecular identification key for six European Quadraspidiotus species. Because the glue used on the traps proved to be an excellent preservative, this key enabled us to identify males caught on pheromone traps in the field and to assess the species-specificity of the SJS-pheromone.