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Title: Tracking predation of subterranean pests: digestion of corn rootworm DNA by a generalist mite

item PRISCHMANN-VOLDSETH, DEIRDRE - North Dakota State University
item Lundgren, Jonathan

Submitted to: Biocontrol Science and Technology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/26/2011
Publication Date: 12/13/2011
Citation: Prischmann-Voldseth, D., Lundgren, J.G. 2011. Tracking predation of subterranean pests: digestion of corn rootworm DNA by a generalist mite. Biocontrol Science and Technology. 21(12):1507-1510.

Interpretive Summary: Although soil predator communities are diverse and abundant, identifying the predators of subterranean insect pests like the corn rootworm remains challenging. Using quantitative PCR, we can amplify rootworm-specific DNA sequences that reside in predator stomachs, and thereby discover which predators consumed the pest under field conditions. One of the dominant predators in subterranean habitats are mites, but mites are extremely small and it is unknown whether gut content analysis will work on them. In this report, we verify that rootworm DNA is detectable in mite stomachs, and this will facilitate future studies examining how these arthropods interact to suppress corn rootworm populations under field conditions.

Technical Abstract: qPCR is a useful tool for understanding predator-prey relationships. We investigated rootworm DNA digestion by male and female predatory mites. Males and females initially consumed comparable amounts of DNA, which was digested at similar rates. Field-collected mites need to be preserved quickly for best qPCR results.