Molecular identification of Anoplophora glabripennis (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) and detection from frass samples based on real-time quantitative PCR
Anoplophora glabripennis (Motschulsky 1853) (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae), the Asian Longhorned Beetle, is native to temperate and subtropical areas of China and the Korean peninsula. Due to its wide range of host plants, it is considered among the most economically important invasive plant pests. The morphological identification of A. glabripennis larvae can be confirmed by DNA barcoding, but obtaining the specimens from infested trees can be a demanding and challenging task. Therefore, non-invasive diagnostic tools based on DNA extracted from frass samples can be of key importance in phytosanitary surveys. In this study, an in silico generated real-time quantitative PCR test was developed for the detection of A. glabripennis DNA from frass material, which is naturally extruded from larval tunnels through cracks in the bark. Specificity was confirmed against a wide range of other wood-boring insect species frequently encountered during phytosanitary surveys and inclusivity was demonstrated for different populations of A. glabripennis from all main European outbreak areas. The test proved sensitive and reliable in detecting A. glabripennis DNA extracted from woody frass material of Acer saccharinum and Aesculus hippocastanum at least up to the 100-fold dilution. Furthermore, the test allowed the molecular identification of any life stage of the insect, including eggs and young larvae, whose morphological identification is impossible or very challenging. This study provides a reliable and sensitive molecular tool to detect A. glabripennis DNA in woody frass material, thus allowing a non-invasive sampling approach.