The chirosourveillance is the use of native bats to detect invasive agricultural pests. It is based on the metagenomic analyses of guano to find insect pests DNA for the early detection of potential and recognized rice pests (such as the alien Chironomus spp., Orthocladius spp., Polypedilum spp.).
Each species of chiroptera (bat) feeds on a large variety of insects and other invertebrates, catching them in proportion to their availability in the environment. Each bat species has specific needs: some species prefer to hunt in an open environment, some other into woods; some bat can hunt small-sized insects such as mosquitoes and other small dipterans, some others feed on moths of considerable size.
Therefore, bats may also prey on insects such as Chironomus tepperi and C. sylvestris, known exotic pathogens that cause extensive losses to rice plants during crop germination, or Polypedilum nubifer, an afrotropical species that damages roots and leaves of seedlings, recently detected also in the Italian rice fields by the researchers of the CNR-ISE of Verbania (Boggero et al. Alien species among Chironomids: a new topic on which to direct our interest). Also the Japanese beetle (Popilia japonica) and the rice awl (Lissorhoptrus oryzophilus) could be part of the bats’ diet. Within the project activities YES! BAT, we will check if this happens in the study areas!
Read more on chirosurveillance on: PLOS-ONE
Read about the ecological services against agricultural pests in the US on: SCIENCE