Spider hosts and wasp parasitoids matched using DNA Barcodes

The study of parasitoids and their hosts suffers from a lack of reliable taxonomic data. We use a combination of morphological characters and DNA sequences to produce taxonomic determinations that can be verified with reference to specimens in an accessible collection and DNA barcode sequences posted to the Barcode of Life database (BOLD).

We demonstrate that DNA can be successfully extracted from consumed host spiders and the shed pupal case of a wasp using non-destructive methods. We found Acrodactylaquadrisculpta to be a parasitoid of Tetragnatha montana; Zatypota percontatoria and Z. bohemani both are parasitoids of Neottiura bimaculata. Zatypota anomala is a parasitoid of an as yet unidentified host in the family Dictynidae, but the host species may be possible to identify in the future as the library of reference sequences on BOLD continues to grow. The study of parasitoids and their hosts traditionally requires specialized knowledge and techniques, and accumulating data is a slow process. DNA barcoding could allow more professional and amateur naturalists to contribute data to this field of study. A publication venue dedicated to aggregating datasets of all sizes online is well suited to this model of distributed science.