DNA barcoding and evolutionary lineage of 15 insect pests ofhorticultural crops in South India

Abstract

Pest management tools should rely to proper identification of arthropod species, which are usually classified relying onmorphological keys. However, the shortcomings and limitations of the conventional taxonomical identification methods high-lighted need for new and simple methods of pest identification. In this research, DNA barcoding was used to identify 15 insect pestsattacking horticultural crops in South India. Accurate phylogenetic information and evolutionary divergence data were supportedand evidenced by various parameters, including the rates of substitution, nucleotide composition, genetic divergence, test of se-lection and saturation analysis. The null hypothesis of neutral selection was rejected in favour of the alternate hypothesis ofpurifying selection. NJ and ML trees were calculated and the individuals of the same species clustered together based on the CO1sequence similarity, regardless of their collection site and geographic location. Overall, this study adds basic knowledge to mo-lecular ecology of important insect pests attacking horticultural crops in South India.