Journal of Insect Conservation

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 453–457 | Cite as

Testing compatibility between molecular and morphological techniques for arthropod systematics: a minimally destructive DNA extraction method that preserves morphological integrity, and the effect of lactic acid on DNA quality

  • Pierre Paquin
  • Cor J. Vink
Short Communication


Three practical aspects related to the preservation and destruction of DNA and/or morphological characters of spiders were examined: potential morphological damage during non-destructive DNA extraction was assessed by counting trichobothria, a fragile sensorial feature found on spider legs; the effect on yield of non-destructive DNA extraction; and whether possible DNA degradation is caused by residues of lactic acid, which is used as a temporary mounting medium for the study of morphological structures in spiders and insects. Destructive extractions yielded higher amounts of DNA than non-destructive methods. However, non-destructive methods yielded usable amounts of DNA while leaving delicate trichobothria intact. Of the non-destructive extractions, a longer digestion period (36 h vs. 12) yielded higher amounts of DNA and did not damage trichobothria. Lactic acid did not induce short-term DNA degradation or inhibit PCR reactions, even at high concentrations. These results show compatibility between molecular and morphological requirements without compromising DNA quality or specimen integrity.


DNA extraction Morphology Lactic acid Specimen integrity Museum 



We are grateful to Marshal Hedin for the use of facilities and resources of his laboratory and for comments on the manuscript; we thank Joe Deas, Jr. for laboratory assistance; and Darrell Ubick for his company on the field trip. Tim New, Darren Smalley and two anonymous reviewers provided suggestions that improved the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cave and Endangered Invertebrate Research LaboratorySWCA Environmental ConsultantsAustinUSA
  2. 2.Biosecurity Team, AgResearch, Lincoln Science CentreChristchurchNew Zealand

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