Molecular systematics is ideal for investigating phylogenetic structure and the presence of cryptic species within what appear to be unified morphospecies. The presence of cryptic species or host races within pest morphospecies can lead to considerable confusion as different biological entities go unrecognized and carry the same name. For invasive pest species, it is critical to effective management that cryptic species be recognized and the proper affiliation of invasive populations determined. Leafmining flies within the genus Liriomyza are important pests of vegetable and cut-flower crops. They have been repeatedly introduced from the Americas to other regions of the world. Despite substantial losses to these flies, the systematics of Liriomyza has remained poorly understood due to their small size and morphological homogeneity. Phylogenetic analysis of mitochondrial sequence variation within the major Liriomyza pests (L. huidobrensis [Blanchard], L. trifolii [Burgess], and L. sativae Blanchard) has found that each of these species, as defined by morphology, harbors genetic variation indicative of the presence of cryptic species and/or host races. Phylogenetic analysis of sequence data from nuclear loci is being used to corroborate mitochondrial results. In the past, confusion regarding species boundaries and species designations of these leafminer pests has plagued researchers and has hindered management efforts directed at these leafminers. It is hoped that an increased understanding of the systematics of these pests will lead to a greater level of prediction and control of both invasive and native populations.
Species 1: Diptera Agromyzidae Liriomyza huidobrensis (leafminer)
Species 2: Diptera Agromyzidae Liriomyza trifolii (leafminer)
Species 3: Diptera Agromyzidae Liriomyza sativae (leafminer)
Keywords: phylogeography, invasive species
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