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Insects 2017, 8(4), 120; doi:10.3390/insects8040120

Elliptic Fourier Analysis in the Study of the Male Genitalia to Discriminate Three Macrolophus Species (Hemiptera: Miridae)

1
Department of Crop and Forest Sciences, University of Lleida, Alcalde Rovira Roure, 177, 25198 Lleida, Spain
2
Department of Animal Production, University of Lleida, Alcalde Rovira Roure, 177, 25198 Lleida, Spain
3
IRTA, Ctra. Cabrils Km 2, 08348 Cabrils (Barcelona), Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Walter J. Tabachnick
Received: 4 September 2017 / Revised: 23 October 2017 / Accepted: 25 October 2017 / Published: 1 November 2017
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Abstract

Within the genus Macrolophus (Heteroptera: Miridae), the species M. costalis (Fieber), M. melanotoma (Costa) and M. pygmaeus (Rambur) are present in the Mediterranean region on a wide variety of plant species. While M. costalis can easily be separated from the other two by the black tip at the scutellum, M. pygmaeus and M. melanotoma are cryptic species, extremely similar to one another in external traits, which has resulted in misidentifications. M. pygmaeus is an efficient biological control agent, both in greenhouse and field crops. The misidentification of these cryptic species could limit the effectiveness of biological control programs. Although the morphology of the left paramere of the male genitalia has been used as a character for identification of these two cryptic species, there is controversy surrounding the reliability of this character as a taxonomic tool for these species. Using geometric morphometric techniques, which are a powerful approach in detecting slight shape variations, the left parameres from these three Macrolophus species were compared. The paramere of M. costalis was larger and had a different shape to that of M. melanotoma and M. pygmaeus; however, no differences in size or shape were found between the left paramere of M. melanotoma and that of M. pygmaeus. Therefore, our results confirm that this character is too similar and it cannot be used to discriminate between these two cryptic species. View Full-Text
Keywords: geometric morphometrics; morphology; paramere; Macrolophus pygmaeus; Macrolophus melanotoma; Macrolophus costalis geometric morphometrics; morphology; paramere; Macrolophus pygmaeus; Macrolophus melanotoma; Macrolophus costalis
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Jauset, A.M.; Edo-Tena, E.; Parés-Casanova, P.M.; Castañé, C.; Agustí, N.; Alomar, O. Elliptic Fourier Analysis in the Study of the Male Genitalia to Discriminate Three Macrolophus Species (Hemiptera: Miridae). Insects 2017, 8, 120.

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