Species From Feces
A tool for genetically identifying bats from non-invasively collected samples
- Roost ID: Identify bat
species present in a mine, cave, bridge, or bat box by using a sample of
combined guano collected from multiple locations across the roost.
- Field ID: Confirm identification
of captured bats that are difficult to distinguish from others by using a fecal
pellet or cheek swab.
- IUCN Red List, Threatened,
Endangered, and Sensitive Species: Identify at risk species.
The searchable database on our website allows users to determine the power of our assay for identifying species that interest them. Although our Species From Feces tool has immediate application in the U.S., where bats are under threat from White-Nose Syndrome, it is a powerful global application and can identify bat species from Africa, Asia, Australia, the Caribbean, Europe, Pacific Islands, and North, Central, and South America.
We offer our species identification services to further bat research and conservation globally. Download our brochure .
Bat guano is a relatively
untapped reservoir of information, having great utility as a DNA source because
it is abundant at roosts even when bats are not present, and is stationary and
easy to collect. Three technologies have come of age that together enable
species identification from guano: reliable DNA typing from feces, DNA
barcoding (species-specific genetic identifiers), and bioinformatic
Taking advantage of these advances,
we have developed a DNA mini-barcode assay that targets a segment of
mitochondrial gene cytochrome c oxidase I (COI) that we have found to be highly
discriminatory among Chiroptera globally, works well with feces, and
selectively targets bat but not prey DNA.
Our assay can currently identify about a third of
the world’s bats (the majority of bat species that have been barcoded). We have successfully validated our system from feces of insectivorous
and nectarivorous bats, with fresh and aged fecal pellets, and with individual
and pooled guano pellets, such that questions can target individuals (using
specific fecal pellets) or populations and communities (long-term roost sites).