Since 2000, the groundnut leaf miner has increasingly become a pest of groundnut and soya bean on the African continent. The origin of the pest in Africa is uncertain. Early reports in South Africa assumed it was an invasion of Aproaerema modicella (Deventer) from the Asian continent, but subsequent mitochondrial DNA COI gene (mtDNA COI) fingerprinting matched it to Aproaerema simplexella (Walker, 1864) from Australia. Prior to this, reports in the 1950s recorded it in Africa under the name Stomopteryx subsecivella (Zeller, 1852). Furthermore, it was found that A. simplexella responded to the species-specific lure developed from the sex pheromone of A. modicella. As a result of these apparent anomalies, we examined the genetic relatedness of the above species fromAfrica, India andAustralia.mtDNACOI analysis was performedon 44 specimens collected from SouthAfrica, four from Mozambique, and three each from single locations in India and Australia. In the BOLD gene bank, 70 % of the specimens analysed matched with A. simplexella sequences from Australia (99–100 %), including all three specimens from both India and Australia, and two from Mozambique. In the remaining specimens, the match was 98–99 %. Two specimens, later to be identified as parasitoids, did not match with any sequences in the BOLD gene bank. In the NCBI gene bank, 81 % of the sequences matched 99–100 %, and a further 15 % matched 92–98 % with A. simplexella sequences. Based on these mtDNA COI analyses, and the similarities of the behavioural responses originally noted between the species, we thus suggest the re-examination of the taxonomy and synonymisation of the three populations of the two species.
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Vol. 24 • No. 1