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Individual identification of endangered species using mosquito blood meals: a proof-of-concept study in Iberian lynx

Martínez-de la Puente, Josué, Méndez, María, Ruiz, Santiago, Godoy, José A., Soriguer, Ramón C., Figuerola, Jordi
Parasitology research 2015 v.114 no.4 pp. 1607-1610
Anopheles atroparvus, DNA, Lynx, blood, endangered species, feeding preferences, genetic markers, genotype, insects, pathogens, vertebrates, wildlife, Spain
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.