A Dietary Analysis of the Microwhip Scorpion (Arachnida: Palpigradi) from Val Verde County, Texas
Palpigrades comprise a poorly known group of arachnids found in caves and soil from numerous localities worldwide. Prior and preliminary studies have suggested arthropods and cyanobacteria as possible diet items of these organisms. This current study uses DNA sequencing to identify contents of the digestive tract of eleven palpigrade specimens, Eukoenenia florenciae (Rucker) from Val Verde County, Texas. Three universal primer sets were used to target the COI region of arthropods, the 16S rRNA of cyanobacteria, and the ITS region of fungi. Additionally, a blocking primer was designed to prevent amplification of the palpigrade DNA itself. DNA from these specimens was extracted, amplified by PCR, and then sequenced using an Illumina MiSeq platform. Sequences were compared to the NCBI GenBank nucleotide database. The presence of arthropods, cyanobacteria, and fungi supports the premise of generalist feeding habits for this species.