Invasive arthropods pose unique management challenges in various environments, the first of which is correct identification. This apparently mundane task is particularly difficult if multiple species are morphologically indistinguishable but accurate identification can be determined with DNA barcoding provided an adequate reference set is available. Scirtothrips dorsalis is a highly polyphagous plant pest with a rapidly expanding global distribution and this species, as currently recognized, may be comprised of cryptic species. Here we report the development of a comprehensive DNA barcode library for S. dorsalis and seven nuclear markers via n ext-generation sequencing for identification use within the complex. We also report the delimitation of nine cryptic species and two morphologically distinguishable species comprising the S. dorsalis species complex using histogram analysis of DNA barcodes, Bayesian phylogenetics, and the multi-species coalescent. One member of the complex, here designated the South Asia 1 cryptic species, is highly invasive, polyphagous, and likely the species implicated in tospovirus transmission. Two other species, South Asia 2, and East Asia 1 are also highly polyphagous and appear to be at an earlier stage of global invasion. The remaining members of the complex are regionally endemic, varying in their pest status and degree of polyphagy. In addition to patterns of invasion and endemism, our results provide a framework both for identifying members of the complex based on their DNA barcode, and for future species delimiting efforts.
Dickey, A. M., Kumar, V., Hoddle, M. S., Funderburk, J. E., Morgan, J. K., Jara-Cavieres, A., … McKenzie, C. L. (2015). The Scirtothrips dorsalis species complex: Endemism and invasion in a global pest. PLoS ONE, 10(4). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0123747