The use of molecular approaches in biological control

Rosie Mangan-Biocontrol Research Unit, School of Biology and Environmental Science, University College Dublin

Mining fly species (Hydrellia lagarosiphon) is currently being investigated as a biological control agent of Moss ex Wager (Lagarosiphon major), an invasive aquatic plant found in several European countries as well as New Zealand and Australia.

The target weed Lagarosiphon is a common aquatic plant in its native range in Southern Africa.

The fly was first found associated with this plant in 2008 and subsequently found throughout the geographic range of the plant even in areas considered quite isolated.

The mitochondrial DNA cytochrome c oxidase subunit (COI) barcoding sequence was used to determine the level of genetic variation of Hydrellia lagarosiphon within and among populations within spatially separated geographical areas of South Africa.

The results also confirm that the individuals used in host specificity testing are from one population and there is an apparent absence of cryptic species.

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