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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11158/saa.23.7.1

A new Aculodes species (Prostigmata: Eriophyoidea: Eriophyidae) associated with medusahead, Taeniatherum caput-medusae (L.) Nevski (Poaceae) 

Enrico De Lillo, Biljana Vidović, Radmila Petanović, Massimo Cristofaro, Francesca Marini, Matthew Augé, Tatjana Cvrković, Emilija Babić, Chiara Mattia, Parisa Lotfollahi, Brian Rector

Abstract


A new species of plant mite (Acari: Eriophyidae) was discovered on medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae), an annual grass that is native to central Asia and the Mediterranean Basin. It is invasive in western North America. Aculodes altamurgiensis sp. nov., is described here and differentiated from other Aculodes spp., on the basis of morphology. Its DNA fingerprinting was reported and compared with Aculodes mckenziei collected from Elymus repens and Bromus inermis. Pairwise comparison of MT-CO1 sequences between A. altamurgiensis sp. nov., and A. mckenziei revealed 20.2–21.5% genetic divergence between these congeneric species. First collected in Parco Nazionale dell’Alta Murgia in Apulia, Italy in 2014, A. altamurgiensis sp. nov., has been subsequently collected from medusahead in Serbia, Bulgaria, Iran and Turkey. Based on these data and on preliminary observations on the effects of the mite on plant growth, A. altamurgiensis sp. nov., is currently being investigated as a candidate biological control agent of medusahead.


Keywords


Apulia, biological control, conservation, grasses, weeds

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