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Diversity and comparative phylogeography of the green-belly stink bugs Dichelops furcatus (Fabricius) and d. melacanthus (Dallas) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), emergente pests in the Neotropical: an integrative approach

Grant number: 18/09469-5
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: November 01, 2018 - October 31, 2020
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Agronomy
Principal Investigator:Cristiano Feldens Schwertner
Grantee:Cristiano Feldens Schwertner
Home Institution: Instituto de Ciências Ambientais, Químicas e Farmacêuticas (ICAQF). Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). Campus Diadema. Diadema , SP, Brazil
Assoc. researchers:Alberto Soares Corrêa ; Jocelia Grazia ; Kim Ribeiro Barão

Abstract

The green-belly stink bug complex (Dichelops spp.) are considered emergent pests in different cultivated plants, frequently causing injuries in important crops in Brazil. In maize, they are considered key pests, ocurring in the early stages of plant development. The change in the agricultural scenario in Center-west and Southern regions of Brazil, as well as changes in cropping systems over the last few years, seem to have directly affected these insect population growth, which were previously considered secondary pests. The two main species of the green-belly stink bug that cause economic losses are Dichelops furcatus (Fabricius) and Dichelops melacanthus (Dallas), that along with Dichelops phoenix Grazia comprise a monofiletic group inside the Dichelops genus, with wide distribution over South America. A survey performed from 1998 and 2001 in soybean fields in Brazil indicated the prevalence of D. furcatus from south of PR state (including RS) and D. melacanthus in the other regions of Brazil. Recent reports support these results, although periodical and standardized surveys have not been made since then. Adults of D. furcatus, D. melacanthus and D. phoenix are morphologically similar, the main morphological traits which allow its recognition includes size from 9 to 12 mm, head with apex of mandibular plates acute, labium reaching the fore coxae, humeral angles developed into spines, and antero-lateral margins of pronotum jagged. The remarkable differences used for species recognition are found in male and female genitalia, only reachable with individual dissection, making the correct identification of adults still hard for non-experts. Moreover, the morphological characteristics are extremely variable within the species, sometimes overlapping between them, bringing into question species delimitation. As a consequence, the accurate definition of the current geographic distribution of the two main species, D. furcatus and D. melacanthus, and which species is predominant in different regions of Brazil are yet unanswered questions. Based on wide sampling throughout the whole distribution of Dichelops spp., the main goals of this project include 1) testing the validity/delimitation of the species currently defined, 2) establish accurately the distribution and test the hypothesis about species prevalence in fields in different regions of Brazil, 3) study the morphological and molecular diversity of populations, 4) define molecular markers for species identification and, 5) understand the spacial structuting throughout the whole distribution of the recognized lineages. Current tools for analysis and comparison of morphological and molecular data will be used. The imediate contributions will allow a better understanding of the green-belly stink bug complex in Brazil, including morphological and molecular characterization, as well as the real geographic distribution, population dynamics and historical and current population structure of Dichelops spp. in Brazilian agricultural environment. These information will be useful for development of control strategies alternative to chemical control, as biological control programs, behavioral, plant resistance and legislative, once that the correct species identification and its populational patterns can disclose historical and modern conditions of important ecological interactions with host plants and natural enemies. This project approval will be of great importance for partnerships consolidation and development of research on Pentatomidae with economic importance, which are emergent pests recognized worldwide, in different brazilian agricultural scenarios. In addition, this project will also contribute for undergraduate and graduate students training, in an area with scarce professional qualification in Brazil. (AU)

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