Individual identification of endangered species using mosquito blood meals: a proof-of-concept study in Iberian lynx
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Host identification from mosquito blood meals has been routinely used to identify the feeding preferences of insects in studies on transmission of vector-borne pathogens. Here, we identified for the first time the susceptibility of the endangered Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) to the attack of a wild mosquito female, the mosquito Anopheles atroparvus. Furthermore, we used 11 microsatellite markers to test for the utility of vertebrate DNA isolated from insect blood meals for individual identification of wildlife. Only the three smallest markers were successfully amplified; however, this genotype did not match with any of the previously genotyped individuals in southern Spain. These results support the use of DNA from mosquito blood meals as a non-invasive source of DNA and a powerful tool on epidemiological and conservation biology studies. However, as may be the case of other non-invasive sampling methods, the utility of this technique is probably limited by the quantity and quality of vertebrate DNA.
KeywordsAnopheles atroparvus Diseases Lynx pardinus Non-invasive blood sampling Parasites
This study was funded by projects CGL2012-30759, CGL2006-10853/BOS, and CGL2010-21540/BOS from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, RNM157 and RNM6400 of the Junta de Andalucía, European Commission EuroWestNile FP7 Project 261391, and through a contract with the Consejería de Medio Ambiente of the Junta de Andalucía. JMP is supported by a Juan de la Cierva contract. We thank L.A. Vázquez, L. Soriano, I. Martín, J. Moreno Fernandez, E. Perez, and A. Magallanes Martin de Oliva for their help in the laboratory and in mosquito collection and identification. Plácido and Maribel allowed us to work in the Cañada de los Pájaros. This is a contribution of the Molecular Ecology Lab of the EBD-CSIC.
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