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Detection of Termites and Other Insects Consumed by African Great Apes using Molecular Fecal Analysis

Abstract : The consumption of insects by apes has previously been reported based on direct observations and/or trail signs in feces. However, DNA-based diet analyses may have the potential to reveal trophic links for these wild species. Herein, we analyzed the insect-diet diversity of 9 feces obtained from three species of African great apes, gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla), chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) and bonobo (Pan paniscus), using two mitochondrial amplifications for arthropods. A total of 1056 clones were sequenced for Cyt-b and COI gene libraries, which contained 50 and 56 operational taxonomic units (OTUs), respectively. BLAST research revealed that the OTUs belonged to 32 families from 5 orders (Diptera, Isoptera, Lepidoptera, Coleoptera and Orthoptera). While ants were not detected by this method, the consumption of flies, beetles, moths, mosquitoes and termites was evident in these samples. Our findings indicate that molecular techniques can be used to analyze insect food items in wild animals.
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Submitted on : Thursday, May 27, 2021 - 5:43:50 PM
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Ibrahim Hamad, Eric Delaporte, Didier Raoult, Fadi Bittar. Detection of Termites and Other Insects Consumed by African Great Apes using Molecular Fecal Analysis. Scientific Reports, 2014, 4, ⟨10.1038/srep04478⟩. ⟨hal-01478646⟩



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