The use of Proteinase K to access genitalia morphology, vouchering and DNA extraction in minute wasps

ABSTRACT Genitalia are rich source of characters in insect taxonomy. Usually, they are examined after dissection and cleaning with potassium hydroxide (KOH), procedure that may damage both genital morphological structures and intracellular molecular contents. Enzymatic procedure with Proteinase K has been used to clean muscle off the genitalia while extract DNA, but its damage to the genital structures has not been evaluated. Herein, we qualitatively compare the use of KOH and Proteinase K to prepare genital structures in minute insects (Hymenoptera: Bethylidae). We show that Proteinase K is better to preserve the genital structure and provides quality DNA.