Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Detection of Bemisia tabaci remains in predator guts using a sequence-characterized amplified region marker.

Abstract

Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) (Homoptera: Aleyrodidae) B biotype is an invasive species (biotype) in China. In order to understand the role that native natural enemies might play in its control, techniques were developed for detecting B. tabaci DNA within the gut of predators. A species-specific DNA fragment, ca. 350 bp, was identified by random amplified polymorphic DNA analysis. This fragment was absent in other closely related or co-occurring prey species, cotton, and other select predator species. After cloning and sequencing the fragment, one pair of sequence-characterized amplified region (SCAR) primers was developed, which amplified a single band of 240 bp. Specificity tests performed with the primers showed the presence of the 240-bp band for B. tabaci in all developmental stages and both sexes, in adult Propylaea japonica (Thunberg) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) fed on B. tabaci nymphs in the laboratory, and in predators collected in cotton fields. Following consumption of a single red-eyed B. tabaci nymph, prey DNA was detectable in 100% of P. japonica at t=0, decreasing to 20% after 12 h of digestion, and no B. tabaci DNA detected at t=24 h. In total, we analysed the gut contents of 185 field-collected predators, representing four different orders. All nine field-collected predator species (namely, P. japonica, Harmonia axyridis, Scymnus hoffmanni, Coccinella septempunctata, Orius sauteri, Chrysopa pallens, Chrysopa formosa, Erigonnidium graminicolum, and Neoscona doenitzi) contained DNA from B. tabaci and are assumed predators of this pest insect. Overall, the B. tabaci was eaten by more than 50% of field-collected predator individuals, including larvae of the coccinellids (P. japonica and H. axyridis) and lacewings (C. pallens and C. formosa) and adults of O. sauteri and the spiders (E. graminicolum and N. doenitzi). There was a trend of a higher percentage of larval than adult coccinellids and lacewings that preyed on B. tabaci in the field. This study provides a framework for the future use of molecular gut content analysis in arthropod conservation ecology and food web research, with considerable potential for quantifying threats to invasive or endemic pest species in China and elsewhere.