Invasive terrestrial invertebrate detection in water and soil using a targeted eDNA approach

Villacorta Rath, Cecilia, Lach, Lori, Andrade Rodriguez, Natalia, Burrows, Damien, Gleeson, Dianne, and Trujillo-Gonzalez, Alejandro (2023) Invasive terrestrial invertebrate detection in water and soil using a targeted eDNA approach. NeoBiota, 83. pp. 71-89.

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Terrestrial invasive invertebrates can rapidly colonise new areas, causing detrimental effects on biodiversity, economy and lifestyle. Targeted environmental DNA (eDNA) methods could constitute an early detection tool given their sensitivity to small numbers of individuals. We hypothesised that terrestrial runoff would transport eDNA from the land into adjacent waterbodies and used the invasive yellow crazy ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes) as a model species to test this hypothesis. We collected water samples from four waterbodies adjacent (< 10 m from the creek edge) to infestations following rainfall events for eDNA analysis. We also collected soil samples from areas of known infestations and tested five eDNA extraction methods to determine their efficiency to extract eDNA from soil. Water samples resulted in positive yellow crazy ant eDNA amplification (20–100% field replicates across all sites), even at one site located 300 m away from where ants had been detected visually. Soil samples resulted in a higher percentage of false negatives when sampled from ant transit areas than from nest entrances. Unpurified DNA extracts from soil also resulted in false negative detections and only after applying a purification step of DNA extracts, did we detect yellow crazy ant eDNA in 40–100% of field replicates across all methods and sites. This is the first study to empirically show that eDNA from a terrestrial invertebrate can be successfully isolated and amplified from adjacent or downstream waterbodies. Our results indicate that eDNA has the potential to be a useful method for detecting terrestrial invertebrates from soil and water.

Item ID: 78627
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1314-2488
Keywords: Biosecurity, eDNA runoff, false negative, invasive species detection, qPCR inhibition, terrestrial eDNA, yellow crazy ant
Copyright Information: © 2023 Cecilia Villacorta-Rath, Lori Lach, Natalia Andrade-Rodriguez, Damien Burrows, Dianne Gleeson, Alejandro Trujillo-González. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Date Deposited: 31 May 2023 07:11
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310913 Invertebrate biology @ 40%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410404 Environmental management @ 60%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1803 Fresh, ground and surface water systems and management > 180302 Control of pests, diseases and exotic species in fresh, ground and surface water @ 40%
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1806 Terrestrial systems and management > 180602 Control of pests, diseases and exotic species in terrestrial environments @ 60%
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