VP12 Geographical and morphological comparative analysis of the genus Dactylopius (Hemiptera: Dactylopiidae) from America
The distribution pattern of species of the genus Dactylopius Costa (Dactylopiidae) in America was analyzed and their morphological characteristics were evaluated according to their habitat feature. The genus Dactylopius is considered endemic to the Americas and includes nine species: Dactylopius coccus Costa, D. ceylonicus (Green), D. confusus (Cockerell), D. opuntiae (Cockerell) and D. tomentosus (Lamarck) have been reported for North America, whereas D. coccus, D. ceylonicus, D. confusus, D. opuntiae, D. austrinus De Lotto, D. confertus De Lotto, D. salmianus De Lotto, and D. zimmermanni De Lotto have been reported for South America. Currently, Dactylopius has a worldwide distribution, but the morphological features of the nine species has been described only in a few localities and only for Mexico the morphological and chemical differences for five local species has been analyzed in terms of their host and their geographical distribution. The probably Dactylopius species morphology variation according to the geographical distribution was hypothesized. For this, insects from USA, Mexico, and South America (Brazil, Chile, and Argentina) were morphologically analyzed and compared in order to register the similarities and difference among them. The habitat features were included overlapping the maps of the Dactylopius species and a weather map reported by Peel et al. in 2007. The morphological characteristics where described on the basis of field collections and examination of museum collections. This information was complemented with information from the exhaustive examination of microscope slides from a local insect collection and literature reviews. The morphological analyses with new georeferenced records for the nine American Dactylopius species are reported. Insects with morphological combined characteristics suggest that the Dactylopius species could be higher than previously thought or that possible processes of hybridization between American native and introduced species may be occurring.