An integrative approach for taxonomic characterization of Aculus spp. pests on stone fruits (Prunus spp.)


Abstract: Eriophyids are among the most important pest mites worldwide. By considering the
genus Aculus, the most economically important species on Prunus spp. are Aculus fockeui
(Nalepa and Trouessart), on plum and several other stone fruits, and A. cornutus (Banks) on
peaches. They cause symptoms such as chlorotic spots and curling of the young leaves,
bronzing and rusting on the older leaves. Cryptic speciation is common in tiny and
morphologically simple taxa such as the eriophyids and could also be expected in Aculus spp.
To evaluate this, we applied an integrative approach to taxonomic characterization of pest
species belonging to the genus Aculus on different stone fruit hosts. The results of phenotypic
variability and COI mtDNA sequence analysis confirmed the present taxonomic status of the
species A. cornutus and that A. fockeui represents a complex of cryptic species on different

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