Apr 6, 2020

A molecular approach to studying Hymenoptera diets using polistine wasps

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
M.-C. LefortBoyer Stephane


The study of animal diets has benefited from the rise of high-throughput DNA sequencing applied to stomach content or faecal samples. The latter can be fresh samples used to describe recent meals, or older samples, which can inform about past feeding activities. For most invertebrates, however, it is difficult to access "historical" samples, due to the small size of the animals and the absence of permanent defecation sites. Therefore, sampling must be repeated to account for seasonal variation and to capture the overall diet of a species. This study develops a method to describe the overall diet of social Hymenoptera based on a single sampling event, by analysing prey DNA from faeces accumulated in brood cells. We collected 48 nests from two species of introduced paper wasps (Polistes chinensis, and P. humilis) in the urban and peri-urban areas of Auckland, New Zealand, and selected two samples per nest. One from brood cells in the outer layer of the nest to represent the most recent diet, and one from brood cells in an inner layer to represent older diet. Diet differed between species, although both fed mainly on Thysanoptera, Lepidoptera, Diptera, Collembolla and Acariformes. Prey taxa identified to species level included bot...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Biologist (General)
Biological Evolution
EAF2 gene

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