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Detection of the lychee erinose mite, aceria litchii (Keifer) (Acari: Eriophyidae) in Florida, USA: A comparison with alien populations

Carrillo Daniel, Cruz Luisa F., Revynthi Alexandra M., Duncan Rita E., Bauchan Gary R., Ochoa Ronald, Kendra Paul E., Bolton Samuel J.
Insects 2020 v.11 no.4 pp. 235
Aceria, Litchi chinensis, genetic variation, inflorescences, internal transcribed spacers, leaves, litchis, mites, nucleotides, orchards, pests, phylogeny, quarantine, ribosomal DNA, stems, trees, trichomes, Australia, Brazil, Florida, Hawaii, India, Taiwan
The Lychee Erinose Mite (LEM), Aceria litchii (Keifer) is a serious pest of lychee (Litchi chinensis Sonn.). LEM causes a type of gall called an erineum (abnormal felty growth of trichomes from the epidemis), where it feeds, reproduces and protects itself from biotic and abiotic adversities. In February of 2018 LEM was found in a commercial lychee orchard on Pine Island, Florida. Infestations were recorded on young leaves, stems, and inflorescences of approximately 30 young trees (1.5-3.0 yrs.) of three lychee varieties presenting abundant new growth. Although LEM is present in Hawaii, this mite is a prioritized quarantine pest in the continental U.S.A. and its territories. Florida LEM specimens showed small morphological differences from the original descriptions of Keiffer (1943) and Huang (2008). A molecular comparison of LEM specimens from India, Hawaii, Brazil, Taiwan, Australia and Florida was made. The amplified COI fragment showed very low nucleotide variation among the locations and could be used for accurate LEM identification. The ITS1 sequences and partial 5.8S fragments displayed no nucleotides differences for specimens from any of the locations except for Australia. Consistent differences were observed in the ITS2 and 28S fragments. The ITS1- ITS2 concatenated phylogeny yielded two lineages with Australia in one group and Hawaii, India, Brazil, Florida and Taiwan in another group. Specimens from Taiwan and Florida seem to present identical ITS and rDNA segments, perhaps indicating a common origin; however, analysis of additional sequences is needed to confirm the origin of the Florida population.