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1 April 2015 The Impact of Environmental Conditions on Efficiency of Host Plant DNA Barcoding for Polyphagous Beetles
Łukasz Kajtoch, Miłosz A. Mazur
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Recently, several papers were published dealing with host plant identification for selected species of insects, including beetles. These studies took advantage of the DNA barcoding approach and generally showed that it is possible to identify diet composition from plant DNA present in insect guts. However, none of these studies considered how the impact of environmental conditions affected the likelihood of insect feeding and, therefore, the presence of host plant DNA that could be amplified and sequenced. In the present study, individuals of the polyphagous weevil Centricnemus leucogrammus (Germar, 1824) (Curculionidae: Entiminae) were used to test the hypothesis that harsh environmental conditions limited its feeding activity. The diet of 50 specimens collected during favourable conditions in the middle of the species reproductive period was compared against the diet of 50 specimens collected during harsh environmental conditions. Results clearly showed that almost no weevils fed during rainy and cold conditions and only a minority of individuals (20%) fed during the drought condition (on drought-resistant plants). It is important to consider such factors in any studies dealing with host plant identification and feeding behaviour. Results of ecological studies could lead to erroneous conclusions, e.g., underestimation of number and composition of host plants in the diet of studies species.

© The Authors 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email:
Łukasz Kajtoch and Miłosz A. Mazur "The Impact of Environmental Conditions on Efficiency of Host Plant DNA Barcoding for Polyphagous Beetles," Environmental Entomology 44(2), 325-329, (1 April 2015).
Received: 6 October 2014; Accepted: 30 January 2015; Published: 1 April 2015

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Centricnemus leucogrammus
chloroplast DNA
molecular ecology
trnL intron
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