Phylogenetic analysis of Melolontha and Polyphylla beetles (Scarabaeidae: Coleoptera) from north-western Himalaya, India

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Rana, Abhishek
Chandel, Ravinder Singh
Sharma, Kamal Dev
Chandel, Surender Singh
Verma, Kuldeep Singh
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White grub species, Melolontha cuprescens , Melolontha furcicauda , Melolontha indica and Polyphylla fullo are serious pests of different crops in north-western Himalaya. None of these species are, however, characterized at molecular level including DNA barcodes. Here we provide DNA barcodes for these species. The adults of these species were collected from different locations of Himachal Pradesh and described by molecular characterization. The mitochondrial Cytochrome c oxidase 1 ( COX1 ) and 28S ribosomal RNA ( 28S rRNA ) genes of these species were amplified and sequenced for molecular identification and phylogenetic analysis. The sequences of these genes from other species of these genera and other related genera were also retrieved from DNA databases and included in the analysis. The COX1 sequences of M. cuprescens were 99.88% similar to P. fullo, whereas those of M. furcicauda were 84.91% similar to M. indica. Among retrieved COX1 sequences, Melolontha hippocastani (HM120757 & KX087316) were closer to M. furcicauda (86.14–86.50%) and M. indica (85.74–86.04%) as compared to M. cuprescens (81.44–81.47%) and P. fullo (81.32–81.47%). Based on 28S rRNA gene sequences, M. indica showed 99.42% similarity to Melolontha melolontha (EU084231) as compared to M. cuprescens and M. furcicauda which were distantly related. The COX1 was a better DNA barcode for the identification of Melolontha and Polyphylla species. The 28S rRNA has a limited utility in DNA barcoding of Melolontha species.