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Bullseye snakehead environmental DNA data, and associated attributes, collected from southeast Florida, from 2015-2018

June 5, 2019

Bullseye snakehead, Channa marulius, was first detected in 2000 in the southern Florida town of Tamarac and has been expanding its geographic range. Environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis is a newly-developed technique used to non-invasively detect cryptic or low-density species, or those that are logistically difficult to study. Genetic material shed into the environment through tissue and body fluids is concentrated from water samples and analyzed for the presence of target species eDNA. To help delineate bullseye snakehead's geographic range, we developed and validated a species-specific eDNA assay for both quantitative and droplet digital PCR (ddPCR). We then used ddPCR to assess 16 locations in southeast Florida using 222 water samples collected from 2015-2018. Positive eDNA detections were obtained at all six locations that were within the known geographic range of bullseye snakehead.