Determination of Genetic Diversity in Chilo partellus, Busseola fusca, and Spodoptera frugiperda Infesting Sugarcane in Southern Malawi Using DNA Barcodes
Sugarcane is one of the most valuable crops in the world. Native and exotic Lepidopteran stemborers significantly limit sugarcane production. However, the identity and genetic diversity of stemborers infesting sugarcane in Malawi is unknown. The main objectives for this study were to identify and determine genetic diversity in stemborers infesting sugarcane in Malawi. We conducted field surveys between June 2016 and March 2017 in the Lower Shire Valley district of Chikwawa and Nsanje, southern
... d Nsanje, southern Malawi. Molecular identification was based amplification the partial cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) gene region. Phylogenetic trees for sequences were generated and published GenBank accessions for each species were constructed. We found that Malawi Busseola fusca (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) specimens belonged to clade II, Spodoptera frugiperda sp. 1 (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) and Chilo partellus (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) were infesting sugarcane. Interspecific divergence ranged from 8.7% to 15.3%. Intraspecific divergence was highest for B. fusca, 3.6%. There were eight haplotypes for B. fusca, three for S. frugiperda and three for C. partellus. The importance of accurate species identification and genetic diversity on stemborer management is presented.