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Data from: The effect of plant identity and mixed feeding on the detection of seed DNA in regurgitates of carabid beetles

Citation

Sint, Daniela et al. (2019), Data from: The effect of plant identity and mixed feeding on the detection of seed DNA in regurgitates of carabid beetles, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.1n4f0b3

Abstract

Carabids are abundant in temperate agroecosystems and play a pivotal role as biocontrol agents for weed seed and pest regulation. While there is good knowledge regarding their effects on invertebrate pests, direct evidence for seed predation in the field is missing. Molecular approaches are ideally suited to investigate these feeding interactions; however, the effects of an omnivorous diet, which is characteristic for many carabid species, and seed identity on the detection success of seed DNA has not yet been investigated. In a series of feeding experiments, seeds of six different Central European weed species were fed to beetles of the species Pseudoophonus rufipes, to determine post-feeding seed DNA detection rates and how these are affected by plant identity, meal size and chemical seed composition. Moreover, we investigated the effect of a mixed diet of seed and mealworm on prey DNA detection. Four out of six seed species were detectable for up to five days after consumption and seed species identity significantly affected post-feeding detection rates. Detectability was negatively influenced by protein content and seed mass, whereas oil content and meal size had a positive effect. The mixed diet led to both increased detection rates and post-feeding detection intervals of seed DNA. This suggests that mixed feeding leads to an enhancement of food detection intervals in carabid beetles and that seed identity, their chemical composition and meal size can affect DNA detection of consumed seeds. These aspects and potential implications of this non-invasive approach are discussed as they can become highly relevant for interpreting field derived data.

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