Systematic Entomology (2011) 36, 741-753

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Ivo Tosevski, Roberto Caldara, Jelena Jovic, Gerardo Hernández-Vera, Cosimo Baviera, Andre Gassmann and Brent C. Emerson (2011)
Morphological, molecular and biological evidence reveal two cryptic species in Mecinus janthinus Germar (Coleoptera, Curculionidae), a successful biological control agent of Dalmatian toadflax, Linaria dalmatica (Lamiales, Plantaginaceae)
Systematic Entomology 36 (4), 741-753
Abstract: A combined morphological, molecular and biological study shows that the weevil species presently named Mecinus janthinus is actually composed of two different cryptic species: M. janthinus Germar, 1821 and M. janthiniformis Toševski and Caldara sp.n. These species are morphologically distinguishable from each other by a few very subtle morphological characters. On the contrary, they are more readily distinguishable by both molecular and biological characters. A molecular assessment based on the mitochondrial DNA cytochrome oxidase subunit II gene revealed fixed differences between the two species with p-distances between samples of both species ranging from 1.3 to 2.4%. In addition to this, the larvae of the two species are found to develop on different species within the genus Linaria (Plantaginaceae): M. janthinus is associated with yellow toadflax (L. vulgaris) and M. janthiniformis with broomleaf toadflax (L. genistifolia) and Dalmatian toadflax (L. dalmatica). Molecular and host use records further suggest the occurrence of a third species associated with L. vulgaris within M. janthinus, sampled from north Switzerland, central Hungary and east Serbia. The significance of these new findings is of particular importance because species of the M. janthinus group are used, or are potential candidates, for the biological control of invasive toadflaxes in North America.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
Link to article at publishers website
Database assignments for author(s): Ivo Tosevski

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
biocontrol - natural enemies
Research topic(s) for beneficials or antagonists:

Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.

Linaria dalmatica (weed)
Linaria vulgaris (weed)
Mecinus janthiniformis (weed bioagent) Bulgaria
Mecinus janthiniformis (weed bioagent) Greece
Mecinus janthiniformis (weed bioagent) Hungary
Mecinus janthiniformis (weed bioagent) Romania
Mecinus janthiniformis (weed bioagent) Serbia
Mecinus janthiniformis (weed bioagent) Linaria dalmatica (weed)
Mecinus janthiniformis (weed bioagent) Linaria dalmatica (weed) North Macedonia
Mecinus janthinus (weed bioagent) Austria
Mecinus janthinus (weed bioagent) Belgium
Mecinus janthinus (weed bioagent) Bulgaria
Mecinus janthinus (weed bioagent) Czech Republic
Mecinus janthinus (weed bioagent) France
Mecinus janthinus (weed bioagent) Germany
Mecinus janthinus (weed bioagent) Greece
Mecinus janthinus (weed bioagent) Hungary
Mecinus janthinus (weed bioagent) Italy
Mecinus janthinus (weed bioagent) Moldova
Mecinus janthinus (weed bioagent) Netherlands
Mecinus janthinus (weed bioagent) Poland
Mecinus janthinus (weed bioagent) Romania
Mecinus janthinus (weed bioagent) Russia (Eur.)
Mecinus janthinus (weed bioagent) Serbia
Mecinus janthinus (weed bioagent) Slovakia
Mecinus janthinus (weed bioagent) Sweden
Mecinus janthinus (weed bioagent) Switzerland
Mecinus janthinus (weed bioagent) Turkey
Mecinus janthinus (weed bioagent) Ukraine
Mecinus janthinus (weed bioagent) United Kingdom