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Hanya G, Morishima K, Koide T, Otani Y, Hongo S, Honda T, Okamura H, Higo Y, Hattori M, Kondo Y, Kurihara Y, Jin S, Otake A, Shiroisihi I, Takakuwa T, Yamamoto H, Suzuki H, Kajimura H, Hayakawa T, Suzuki-Hashido N, Nakano T (2019) Host selection of hematophagous leeches (Haemadipsa japonica): implications for iDNA studies. Ecological Research 34: 842-855.

The development of an efficient and cost-effective method for monitoring animal populations or biodiversity is urgently needed, and invertebrate-derived DNA (iDNA) may offer a promising tool for assessing the diversity and other ecological information of vertebrates. We studied the host species of a haematophagous leech (Haemadipsa japonica) in Yakushima by genetic barcoding and compared the results with those for mammal composition revealed by camera trapping. We analyzed 119 samples using two sets of primers by Sanger sequencing and one set of primer by next generation sequencing. The proportion of the samples that were successfully sequenced and identified to at least one species was 11.8-24.3%, depending on the three different methods. In all of these three methods, most of the samples were identified as sika deer (18/20, 6/15, 16/29) or human (2/20, 7/15, 21/29). The non-human mammal host species composition was significantly different from that estimated by camera trapping. Sika deer was the main host, which may be related with their high abundance, large body size and terrestriality. Ten samples included DNA derived from multiple species of vertebrates. This may be due to the contamination of human DNA, but we also found DNA from deer, Japanese macaque and a frog in the same samples, suggesting the mixture of the two meals in the gut of the leech. Using Haemadipsa japonica-derived iDNA would not be suitable to make an inventory of species, but it may be useful to collect genetic information on the targeted species, due to their high host selectivity.

Key words: barcoding, haematophagy, Japanese macaque, monitoring, sika deer

<Written by: Goro Hanya (hanya.goro.5z<atmark>>
<Contact: Goro Hanya (hanya.goro.5z<atmark>>
<Last update: November 22, 2019>