U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version



Borland, E.M., D.A. Hartman, M.W. Hopken, A.J. Piaggio, and R.C. Kading. 2020. Technical limitations associated with molecular barcoding of arthropod bloodmeals taken from North American deer species. Journal of Medical Entomology 57(6):2002-2006.

doi: 10.1093/jme/tjaa112


US gov't work


Accurate species-level identification of the source of arthropod bloodmeals is important for deciphering blood feeding patterns of field-collected specimens. Cytochrome c oxidase I (COI) mitochondrial gene sequencing has been used for this purpose; however, species resolution can be difficult to obtain from certain vertebrate genera, including Odocoileus. Sanger sequencing of mitochondrial genes was employed to identify the bloodmeal source of wild-caught mosquitoes trapped in Greeley, Colorado. Initial sequencing of the COI gene of mitochondrial DNA in bloodmeals was inadequate for species-level resolution of bloodmeals from deer in the genus Odocoileus, with current databases returning low fidelity matches to multiple genera. The use of the hypervariable D loop of the control region provided species-level identification of white-tailed deer (Order: Artiodactyla, Family: Cervidae, Odocoileus virginianus); however, taxonomic identification was successful only to genus for mule (O. hemionus hemionus) and black-tailed deer (O. hemionus columbianus). We advocate the use of multiple loci for bloodmeal analysis and the buildout of available databases to include multiple mitochondrial reference genes for reliable host species identification.

Includes supplemental material (1 table)