Scolytus schevyrewi Semenov, the banded elm bark beetle, and S. multistriatus Marsham, the smaller European elm bark beetle, are morphologically similar. Reliance on adult external morphological characters for identification can be problematic because of wide within-species variability and the need for good-quality specimens. The inability to identify developmental stages can also hamper early-detection programs. Using two character identification systems, genitalic (aedeagus) morphology, and DNA markers (random amplified polymorphic DNA polymerase chain reaction (RAPD-PCR)) to distinguish S. schevyrewi from S. multistriatus, we examined specimens from geographically distinct populations of both species collected from infested host trees or semiochemical-baited funnel traps. We found that aedeagus morphology can be used to identify the two species. The use of two oligonucleotide primers in the RAPD-PCR analysis yielded distinct DNA banding patterns for the two species. Species identification using RAPD-PCR analysis was validated by a blind test and used to make species identifications of larval specimens. These tools improve the ability to differentiate between S. schevyrewi and S. multistriatus at immature and adult stages, and could be developed and used for other scolytines as well.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Structural Biology
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Molecular Biology
- Insect Science