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Species identification of horse flies (Diptera: Tabanidae) in Thailand using DNA barcoding

Changbunjong, Tanasak, Bhusri, Benjaporn, Sedwisai, Poonyapat, Weluwanarak, Thekhawet, Nitiyamatawat, Eakanan, Chareonviriyaphap, Theeraphap, Ruangsittichai, Jiraporn
Veterinary parasitology 2018 v.259 pp. 35-43
DNA barcoding, Tabanus, adults, barcoding, cytochrome-c oxidase, insects, mitochondria, monitoring, pathogens, phylogeny, species identification, Thailand
Horse flies (Diptera: Tabanidae) are of medical and veterinary importance because they are known to transmit pathogens. Approximately 80 species of horse flies have been reported in Thailand. Monitoring the distribution of horse fly species is important to control the spread of diseases transmitted by them. Currently, the species identification of horse flies is based on their morphology; this requires considerable skills and taxonomic expertise, and it may be difficult to identify morphologically similar species. DNA-based identification methods are increasingly being developed for rapid and accurate identification of various insect species. In this study, we used mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) for species identification of horse flies in Thailand. A 658 bp fragment of COI was amplified from 145 adult horse flies belonging to 48 morphologically distinct species and sequenced. Sequence analysis revealed an intraspecific divergence of 0.0%–4.4% and an interspecific divergence of 0.0%–16.2%. Our results showed that COI barcodes were effective in discriminating a majority of horse flies in Thailand on the basis of the barcoding gap and phylogenetic analyses. However, COI barcodes were unable to distinguish among members of the Tabanus striatus complex and some species within the T. ceylonicus group.