, Volume 63, Issue 4, pp 497-520,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 08 Apr 2014

Genetic and morphological diversity of Trisetacus species (Eriophyoidea: Phytoptidae) associated with coniferous trees in Poland: phylogeny, barcoding, host and habitat specialization


Eriophyoid species belonging to the genus Trisetacus are economically important as pests of conifers. A narrow host specialization to conifers and some unique morphological characteristics have made these mites interesting subjects for scientific inquiry. In this study, we assessed morphological and genetic variation of seven Trisetacus species originating from six coniferous hosts in Poland by morphometric analysis and molecular sequencing of the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I gene and the nuclear D2 region of 28S rDNA. The results confirmed the monophyly of the genus Trisetacus as well as the monophyly of five of the seven species studied. Both DNA sequences were effective in discriminating between six of the seven species tested. Host-dependent genetic and morphological variation in T. silvestris and T. relocatus, and habitat-dependent genetic and morphological variation in T. juniperinus were detected, suggesting the existence of races or even distinct species within these Trisetacus taxa. This is the first molecular phylogenetic analysis of the Trisetacus species. The findings presented here will stimulate further investigations on the evolutionary relationships of Trisetacus as well as the entire Phytoptidae family.