Data from: Discrimination of grasshopper (Orthoptera: Acrididae) diet and niche overlap using next-generation sequencing of gut contents
McClenaghan, Beverly; Gibson, Joel F.; Shokralla, Shadi; Hajibabaei, Mehrdad (2016), Data from: Discrimination of grasshopper (Orthoptera: Acrididae) diet and niche overlap using next-generation sequencing of gut contents, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.r8c3b
Species of grasshopper have been divided into three diet classifications based on mandible morphology: forbivorous (specialist on forbs), graminivorous (specialist on grasses), and mixed feeding (broad-scale generalists). For example, Melanoplus bivittatus and Dissosteira carolina are presumed to be broad-scale generalists, Chortophaga viridifasciata is a specialist on grasses, and Melanoplus femurrubrum is a specialist on forbs. These classifications, however, have not been verified in the wild. Multiple specimens of these four species were collected, and diet analysis was performed using DNA metabarcoding of the gut contents. The rbcLa gene region was amplified and sequenced using Illumina MiSeq sequencing. Levins' measure and the Shannon–Wiener measure of niche breadth were calculated using family-level identifications and Morisita's measure of niche overlap was calculated using operational taxonomic units (OTUs). Gut contents confirm both D. carolina and M. bivittatus as generalists and C. viridifasciata as a specialist on grasses. For M. femurrubrum, a high niche breadth was observed and species of grasses were identified in the gut as well as forbs. Niche overlap values did not follow predicted patterns, however, the low values suggest low competition between these species.