Antonia Mandl


Species Determination using DNA-Barcoding in Spiders from Cambodian Wet Markets

MSc Student
Advisor: Elisabeth Haring

Natural History Museum &
Unit for Integrative Zoology, Department of Evolutionary Biology
University of Vienna


The history of spiders goes back millions of years, resulting in extreme species diversity. Spiders have a large and diverse impact on their environment, which makes the protection of these animals so important. In the past, arachnids have not been of great interest to the general public, which is reflected in the lack of research on this group of animals. Climate change, loss of habitat structures, pesticides in agriculture, illegal wildlife trade, and hunting of spiders as a food source for humans or for medicinal purposes are some of the potential threats to these animals. However, without species identification, no protection is possible. A species of tarantula in Cambodia, belonging to the genus Cyriopagopus, is threatened with extinction due to heavy take for food and medicinal purposes and loss of habitat structure. It is not possible to say with accuracy which species it is or neither of them, but two species of tarantulas are estimated: Cyriopagopus albostriatus and Cyriopagopus longipes. Therefore, this project takes the first step towards protecting this species of tarantula, which is not yet known with certainty, by means of DNA barcoding. In Cambodia, 50 tarantulas were collected from various wetland markets, private homes, farmland, and forests, some in a fried state. Nanopore sequencing with ONT's MinION was used for species identification to demonstrate its DNA barcoding capability in tarantulas and allowing the project to be repeated directly in the field with minimal laboratory equipment. Initial results show that DNA extraction is possible in fried individuals and that Nanopore sequencing with ONT's MinION also works in spiders.