DNA-based identification of spider mites: molecular evidence for cryptic species of the genus Tetranychus (Acari: Tetranychidae).
Species identification is a basic issue in biosecurity. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) followed by restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) is a useful molecular diagnostic tool for species identification. However, the lack of transferability of data has been a serious shortcoming of this method. A RFLP catalog, i.e., a graph of PCR-RFLP patterns expected from sequence data, was devised as a tool to facilitate PCR-RFLP data sharing among laboratories. Twelve species of Tetranychus spider mites have been recorded in Japan to date. In this study, we analyzed DNA sequences of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region in nuclear ribosomal DNA of 11 Tetranychus species. For the species identification using PCR-RFLP, we chose six candidates from 131 restriction endonucleases and developed an RFLP catalog of all known Japanese Tetranychus species except Tetranychus neocaledonicus André. The RFLP catalog revealed that most Tetranychus species had diagnostic restriction fragments. The RFLP catalog is transferable and simple molecular diagnostic tool, and it has the ability to add more species and newly found intraspecific variations. Therefore, we believe that the RFLP catalog will contribute to biosecurity as a practical diagnostic tool for species identification of spider mites.