Rapid host-plant adaptation in the herbivorous spider mite Tetranychus urticae occurs at low cost.Curr Opin Insect Sci 2019; 36:82-89CO
The herbivorous spider mite Tetranychus urticae is a generalist world crop pest. Early evidence for host races, its fully sequenced genome resolved to the chromosome level, and the development of other molecular tools in this species suggest that this arthropod can be a good model to address host plant adaptation and early stages of speciation. Here, we evaluate this possibility by reviewing recent studies of host-plant adaptation in T. urticae. We find that evidence for costs of adaptation are relatively scarce and that studies involving molecular-genetics and genomics are mostly disconnected from those with phenotypic tests. Still, with the ongoing development of genetic and genomic tools for this species, T. urticae is becoming an attractive model to understand the molecular basis of host-plant adaptation.