Bulletin of Entomological Research

Research Paper

A molecular approach to identify prey of the southern rock lobster

K.S. Redda1a3 c1, S.N. Jarmana2, S.D. Frushera3 and C.R. Johnsona1

a1 School of Zoology, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 5, Hobart, TAS 7001, Australia

a2 Department of the Environment and Heritage, Australian Antarctic Division, 203 Channel Highway, Kingston, TAS 7050, Australia

a3 Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute, Marine Research Laboratories, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 49, Hobart, TAS 7001, Australia


We demonstrate the use of molecular techniques to detect specific prey consumed by the southern rock lobster (Jasus edwardsii). A quick and non-lethal method was used to collect rock lobster faecal material and a molecular protocol was employed to isolate prey DNA from faecal samples. The isolated DNA was amplified using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with PCR primers designed to target specific prey items. Feeding experiments determined that DNA from black-lipped abalone (Haliotis rubra) and sea urchins (Centrostephanus rodgersii and Heliocidaris erythrogramma) can be detected in rock lobster faecal samples within seven hours and remains present for up to 60 h after ingestion.

(Accepted December 03 2007)

(Online publication April 28 2008)


c1 Author for correspondence Fax: (+61) 3 6226 2745 E-mail: ksredd@utas.edu.au