The thought of examining so-called invertebrate-parasite-derived DNA, or iDNA, is not emblem new – it was once in the past demonstrated in a 2012 find out about during which 25 leeches from Vietnam have been tested. This time round, scientists Mark Siddall and Michael Tessler sought after to use the way to a broader geographical area.
In the method of doing so, their crew analyzed roughly 750 Haemadipsa leeches amassed from the forests of Bangladesh, Cambodia, and China. The researchers discovered that the leeches contained DNA from a extensive number of mammals, together with muntjac deer, macaque monkeys, wildcats, porcupines, rats, and the susceptible Indian bison.
Perhaps a little strangely, the crew additionally discovered DNA from a species of bat, together with that of a few non-mammals – 3 forms of ground-dwelling birds.
“Our recent work has demonstrated that we can determine what mammals are in a protected area without hunting, without trapping, without the use of scat or hair samples, and especially without camera traps – all of which are problematic methods for one reason or another,” says Siddall. “Instead, by sequencing the host DNA that remains inside of terrestrial jungle leeches for months after feeding, we can out-perform all other methods of biodiversity monitoring in terms of accuracy, completeness, speed, and cost. We even get the small mammals that most other methods miss.”