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Species-specific Detection of Predation by Coleoptera on the Milacid Slug Tandonia budapestensis (Mollusca: Pulmonata)

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Tandonia budapestensis is one of the most damaging species of slug in the UK , and can cause major losses in potatoes and cereals . No previous attempts appear to have been made to investigate the potential of natural enemies to control this slug . Monoclonal antibodies can be used to analyze the crop contents of predators collected from the field , in order to detect and quantify the remains of major pest species and identify important natural enemies . A species - specific antibody was therefore raised that could distinguish between T. budapestensis and all other molluscs tested . The antibody could detect as little as 5.57 ng of prey protein in an enzyme - linked immunosorbent assay . It could clearly identify the remains of T. budapestensis among the crop contents of the carabid Pterostichus melanarius for more than 26 h at 16 o C , while the half - life of the antigen within the predator was 12.8 h . Such intervals make it a highly suitable antibody probe for quantifying predation during the previous day . The only serious cross - reactivity problem was with earthworms . The antibody can now be used to test predators collected from the field to see if they are indeed consuming this slug , or whether , as suggested by feeding trials , adult T. budapestensis are to some degree toxic to beetles and therefore avoided .
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Keywords: CROP ECOLOGY; DETECTION LIMIT; MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY; PREDATION; PTEROSTICHUS MELANARIUS; TANDONIA BUDAPESTENSIS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1997-09-01

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