Psocids (Psocoptera: Liposcelididae: Liposcelis spp.) are major pests of stored grain and commonly occur on a wide range of stored products. Increasingly, the genus of Liposcelis has gained recognition of their importance due to their feeding on stored grains, contaminating food, and agricultural commodities as well as transmitting harmful microorganisms, including fungi and bacteria. Psocids have close morphological similarities and often commix occur at the same ecosystems. Therefore, a first step necessary to further implement population studies is the accurate identification of species, based on molecular methods. In this study, we determined nucleotide sequences of the nuclear rDNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS) 1-5.8S-ITS2 region in 100 individuals of six Liposcelis species (including Liposcelis bostrychophila Badonnel, Liposcelis entomophila (Enderlein), Liposcelis decolor (Pearman), Liposcelis tricolor Badonnel, Liposcelis pacta Pearman, and Liposcelis yunnaniensis Li & Li) from 16 locations of China. We evaluated the suitability of this marker for phylogenetic inference study in the Liposcelis species. We also developed a molecular identification method for six Liposcelis species based on ITS2 sequence. Results demonstrate that ITS1-5.8S-ITS2 sequences are a useful tool for the population genetic study and phylogeny estimation of Liposcelis species. The results of this study indicate that the ITS2 sequences can be a reliable tool for species discrimination of the six species of psocids tested here. In addition, the multiplex method described proved reliable when tested across different geographical populations.
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Vol. 104 • No. 5