Although the leaf miner attacking groundnut in Africa is widely reported as Aproaerema modicella (Deventer), a common groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.) and soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.) pest in Indo-Asian countries, a proper taxonomic identification of the pest has not been done. A detection survey of the pest was conducted on groundnut, soybean and lucerne (Medicago sativa L.), the common host crops for A. modicella, at six widely separated sites in South Africa during the 2009-2010 growing season. Sixty specimens comprising 24 larvae, 24 pupae and 12 moths of GLM (54 from groundnut; six from soybean) were collected from the six survey sites, and their mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) were sequenced and compared with those from the BOLD gene bank. Infestation by GLM was observed on groundnut and soybean, but not on lucerne. The mtDNA from all specimens of the pest, irrespective of whether they were from groundnut or soybean, matched 100% with the sequences in BOLD belonging to Aproaerema simplixella PS1, a strain also occurring in Australia, where it is a soybean pest. There was very little genetic diversity between and within the populations from the six sites, which suggested that the populations were maternally of the same origin.
Key words: Arachis hypogaea L., Aproaerema modicella, Glycine max (L.) Merr., lucerne, mitochondrial DNA.
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