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Super Mark It! A Review of the Protein Immunomarking Technique

James R Hagler
Annals of the Entomological Society of America 2019 v.112 no.3 pp. 200-210
arthropods, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, experimental design, guidelines, mark release recapture, mark-recapture studies, protein tagging, species dispersal
Having an effective method to track movement of arthropods in nature is essential for any mark-release-recapture (MRR) or mark-capture (MC) type experiment. A simple protein immunomarking technique (PIT) was described over a quarter of a century ago that has since been proven to be a highly useful and versatile tool for tracking arthropod dispersal patterns. The PIT consists of tagging arthropods with a specific protein. In turn, recaptured arthropods are examined for the presence of the protein tag by a highly sensitive and specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. In this article, I review the progression of the PIT procedure, provide guidelines for conducting a successful PIT (MRR or MC) dispersal study, and highlight some of the ways this procedure has been adapted to study the dispersal patterns of a wide variety of arthropod species. My goal is that this information will provide researchers with the motivation to develop even more creative uses for the PIT.