Date of this Version
Journal of Insect Science 76, 2012
The screwworm, Cochliomyia hominivorax (Coquerel) (Diptera: Calliphoridae), is one of the most devastating arthropod pests of livestock in the Western Hemisphere. Early instars are very difficult to distinguish morphologically from several closely related blow fly species. Random amplified polymorphic DNA-polymerase chain reaction (RAPD-PCR) markers were developed for identifying C. hominivorax from other wound inhabiting species. Forty decameric primers were screened; nine showed clear reproducible RAPD profiles suitable for distinguishing all life stages of C. hominivorax from 7 other species, including C. macellaria (Fabricius). The results from RAPD-PCR with field-collected samples of unknown first instars agreed with morphological identification that the samples were not C. hominivorax. Three different primers showed DNA polymorphisms (intraspecific) for samples originating from Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Jamaica, and Brazil. Therefore, RAPD-PCR may be useful for determining the geographic origin of C. hominivorax samples. Comparing products from these primers, used with known and unknown screwworm samples from an outbreak in Mexico, clearly showed that the outbreak did not originate from the mass rearing facility. Accurate identification of suspected C. hominivorax samples is possible using RAPD-PCR. Further development to identify the geographic origin of samples would benefit the ongoing surveillance programs against C. hominivorax and the decision process during suspected outbreaks of this important pest.