Special Issue "Molecular Gut Content Analysis: Deciphering Trophic Interactions of Insects"

A special issue of Insects (ISSN 2075-4450).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 March 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Alina Avanesyan
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Entomology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
Interests: plant-insect interactions; invasive species; molecular gut content analysis; insect ecology and evolution; plant responses to herbivory
Prof. Dr. William Lamp
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Entomology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
Interests: plant-insect interactions; plant response to herbivory; Integrated Pest Management; aquatic entomology; biological control

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The analysis of gut contents using molecular biology techniques is an exciting process and one of the most accurate ways to confirm the diet composition of many types of consumers. For the study of trophic interactions of insects, the detection of ingested DNA is suitable for identifying the gut contents of insects that feed on plants and animals, as well as identifying the gut contents of vertebrates and invertebrates that feed on insects. Ultimately, molecular biology approaches allow us to broadly identify the role of insects in trophic interactions. This knowledge is critical for understanding species feeding preferences, detecting and predicting novel plant–insect–predator associations, and ultimately deciphering trophic interactions involving insects in natural communities. Knowledge of trophic interactions becomes especially important when the study species are agricultural or forest pests and the information about their trophic interactions has important implications for biological control and other pest management options. Gut content analysis using molecular biology approaches, however, is also a challenging and time-consuming approach because of the potentially low concentration or quick degradation of ingested plant or animal DNA. This Special Issue welcomes recent research on plant and animal DNA detection in the gut contents of insect herbivores and predators, respectively, as well as insect DNA detection in the gut contents of their predators, vertebrate or invertebrate. DNA-based protocols, short experimental reports, and original research articles, as well as review papers that broadly cover issues relating to molecular gut content analysis of various insect species (leaf-chewing insects, sap-feeders, soil-dwelling insects, etc.) and insect predators (both invertebrates and vertebrates) are of interest for this Special Issue. Studies that utilize both basic and advanced molecular biology methods are invited for submission.

Prof. Dr. William Lamp
Dr. Alina Avanesyan
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Insects is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • biological control
  • DNA barcoding
  • host plant-insect interactions
  • molecular gut content analysis
  • insect herbivore diet
  • insect trophic interactions
  • insect predators

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
DNA Metabarcoding as a Tool for Disentangling Food Webs in Agroecosystems
Insects 2020, 11(5), 294; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11050294 - 11 May 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 907
Abstract
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, [...] Read more.
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. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Use of Molecular Gut Content Analysis to Decipher the Range of Food Plants of the Invasive Spotted Lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula
Insects 2020, 11(4), 215; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11040215 - 01 Apr 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1411
Abstract
Spotted lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula (Hemiptera: Fulgoridae), is an introduced highly invasive insect pest in the US that poses a significant risk to forestry and agriculture. Assessing and predicting plant usage of the lanternfly has been challenging, and little is known regarding the lanternfly [...] Read more.
Spotted lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula (Hemiptera: Fulgoridae), is an introduced highly invasive insect pest in the US that poses a significant risk to forestry and agriculture. Assessing and predicting plant usage of the lanternfly has been challenging, and little is known regarding the lanternfly nymph association with its host plants. In this study, we focused on: (a) providing a protocol for using molecular markers for food plant identification of L. delicatula; (b) determining whether the ingested plant DNA corresponds with DNA of the plants from which the lanternfly was collected; and, (c) investigating the spectrum of ingested plants. We utilized gut contents of third and fourth instar nymphs that were collected from multiple plants; we isolated ingested plant DNA and identified consumed plants. We demonstrated that (a) up to 534 bp of the rbcL gene from ingested plants can be detected in L. delicatula guts, (b) ingested plants in ~93% of the nymphs did not correspond with the plants from which the nymphs were collected, and (c) both introduced and native plants, as well as woody and non-woody plants, were ingested. This information will aid effective the monitoring and management of the lanternfly, as well as predict the lanternfly host plants with range expansion. Full article
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