Data from: Disentangling mite predator-prey relationships by multiplex PCR
Pérez-Sayas, Consuelo et al. (2015), Data from: Disentangling mite predator-prey relationships by multiplex PCR, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.5k927
Gut content analysis using molecular techniques can help elucidate predator-prey relationships in situations in which other methodologies are not feasible, such as in the case of trophic interactions between minute species such as mites. We designed species-specific primers for a mite community occurring in Spanish citrus orchards comprising two herbivores, the Tetranychidae Tetranychus urticae and Panonychus citri, and six predatory mites belonging to the Phytoseiidae family; these predatory mites are considered to be these herbivores’ main biological control agents. These primers were successfully multiplexed in a single PCR to test the range of predators feeding on each of the two prey species. We estimated prey DNA detectability success over time (DS50), which depended on the predator-prey combination and ranged from 0.2 to 18 h. These values were further used to weight prey detection in field samples to disentangle the predatory role played by the most abundant predators (i.e. Euseius stipulatus and Phytoseiulus persimilis). The corrected predation value for E. stipulatus was significantly higher than for P. persimilis. However, because this 1.5-fold difference was less than that observed regarding their sevenfold difference in abundance, we conclude that P. persimilis is the most effective predator in the system; it preyed on tetranychids almost five times more frequently than E. stipulatus did. The present results demonstrate that molecular tools are appropriate to unravel predator-prey interactions in tiny species such as mites, which include important agricultural pests and their predators.