Better knowledge of food webs and related ecological processes is fundamental to understanding the functional role of biodiversity in ecosystems. This is particularly true for pest regulation by natural enemies in agroecosystems. However, it is generally difficult to decipher the impact of predators, as they often leave no direct evidence of their activity. Metabarcoding via high-throughput sequencing (HTS) offers new opportunities for unraveling trophic linkages between generalist predators and their prey, and ultimately identifying key ecological drivers of natural pest regulation. Here, this approach proved effective in deciphering the diet composition of key predatory arthropods (nine species.; 27 prey taxa), insectivorous birds (one species, 13 prey taxa) and bats (one species; 103 prey taxa) sampled in a millet-based agroecosystem in Senegal. Such information makes it possible to identify the diet breadth and preferences of predators (e.g., mainly moths for bats), to design a qualitative trophic network, and to identify patterns of intraguild predation across arthropod predators, insectivorous vertebrates and parasitoids. Appropriateness and limitations of the proposed molecular-based approach for assessing the diet of crop pest predators and trophic linkages are discussed.
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