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A Molecular Analysis of Herbivory in Adults of the Invasive Bean Plataspid, Megacopta cribraria

Lovejoy, Riley T., Johnson, David A.
Southeastern naturalist 2014 v.13 no.4 pp. 663-672
chloroplasts, diet, Glycine max, Pueraria montana var. lobata, Megacopta cribraria, DNA, soybeans, herbivores, animal organs, pests, conifers, exons, adults, Southeastern United States
Megacopta cribraria (Bean Plataspid or Kudzu Bug) is an invasive phytophagous stink bug that was first detected in North America in 2009 and has subsequently spread across the southeastern US. It is thought to feed primarily on Pueraria montana (Kudzu), Glycine max (Soybean), and a few other legumes. We investigated the diet of adult Bean Plataspids by analyzing DNA found in their guts. We extracted DNA from adult Bean Plataspid viscera and PCR-amplified and sequenced an exon of the chloroplast trnL gene. Our results indicate that Bean Plataspid adults not only feed on Kudzu and other legumes, but also on a variety of angiosperms and some conifers. We discuss possible implications of the invasive plataspid's broad diet, and propose that it might also imply that Bean Plataspid is an even more threatening pest than was previously thought.