Non-destructive DNA extractions from fly larvae (Diptera: Muscidae) enable molecular identification of species and enhance morphological features

Francesco Martoni, Isabel Valenzuela, Mark J. Blacket

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Insects preserved as reference specimens are important in a wide range of fields, including health, pest management and forensics. The aim of the present study was to test a non-destructive DNA extraction method on samples of soft-bodied insects, fly larvae, which are otherwise hard to identify morphologically. This not only provides DNA enabling molecular identification but also retains morphological reference specimens for samples belonging to collections and museums that cannot be destroyed. In this work, fly larvae identified as belonging to the family Muscidae were non-destructively processed. DNA barcoding molecular identification allowed most of these specimens to be assigned to species. Furthermore, the visibility of seven important larval morphological characters – anterior and posterior spiracles, mouth hooks, cephalopharyngeal skeleton, locomotory welts, segmentation and colour – was assessed pre- and post-DNA extraction. It was found that the morphology generally did not deteriorate post-DNA extraction but actually improved through increased visibility of internal features. Therefore, this non-destructive DNA extraction method not only allowed COI barcode sequences to be obtained, but also enabled a better morphological identification of the fly larvae retaining physical reference voucher specimens and avoiding the need for dissections.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAustral Entomology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Sep 2019
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Muscidae
insect larvae
larva
DNA
extraction method
visibility
spiracles
insects
insect
nondestructive methods
barcoding
DNA barcoding
pest management
type collections
dissection
pest control
skeleton
species identification
mouth
segmentation

Cite this

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Non-destructive DNA extractions from fly larvae (Diptera: Muscidae) enable molecular identification of species and enhance morphological features. / Martoni, Francesco; Valenzuela, Isabel; Blacket, Mark J.

In: Austral Entomology, 04.09.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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