Genetic screening for prey in the gut contents from a giant squid (Architeuthis sp.)

B. E. Deagle, S. N. Jarman, D. Pemberton, N. J. Gales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


Giant squids (Architeuthis sp.) remain mysterious; they have evaded observation and are rarely taken from their deep sea habitat. Information on the diet of Architeuthis is scarce due to the limited number of specimens with morphologically recognizable remains in their digestive tracts. We explored the use of polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based methods for detection of DNA in the prey remains and amorphous slurry from an Architeuthis gut sample. The DNA region amplified varied in size, allowing separation of fish and squid components. Sequence comparisons identified fish prey as Macruronus novaezelandiae. Isolation of Architeuthis DNA from an ingested tentacle and the presence of chitin fragments indicate cannibalism occurs in giant squid. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis was used to screen for less common DNA types, revealing a high frequency of PCR-generated false alleles, but no additional prey species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-423
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Heredity
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2005
Externally publishedYes


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