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Inter- and intra-population variation in genital shapes of Rice Black Bugs, Scotinophara spp.

Jeraluz O. Lagrada, Cordulo P. Ascaño, Mark Anthony J. Torres

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J. Bio. Env. Sci.13(6), 17-23, December 2018


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It is much harder and less effective to manage pest if their identities are unknown. The rice black bug (RBB), Scotinophara spp., is an epitome of such pest. It is said to attack rice at all stages of the plant’s development causing reduced yield in many farms in the Philippines.  However, questions abound regarding its identity because of the immense morphological diversity its population’s exhibit, even in traits that are traditionally believed to be stable such as the genitalia. As a case study, samples of RBB from two locations in Lanao del Norte, Philippines were examined and tested for variability in genital shapes using the method of Geometric Morphometric. The findings show that among females, 55% of the variation is related to asymmetrical differences the left and right sides of the genital plates. While among males, 32.5% is acrued to differences in the concavity of the gentalia. Data show continuous shape variation within each sex of RBB, which open up a lot of questions regarding the utility of the genitalia as diagnostic character in species delimitation. Traditionally, reproductive characters are used as bases in splitting or lumping species. However, due to its continuous nature and the wide extent of variation it manifests even within species, the genitalia may be used with caution in delimiting species boundaries.


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