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Male-killer symbiont screening reveals novel associations in Adalia ladybirds

Archer, Jack, Hurst, Gregory D. D. and Hornett, Emily (2023) 'Male-killer symbiont screening reveals novel associations in Adalia ladybirds'. Access Microbiology, Vol 5, Issue 7.

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While male-killing bacteria are known to infect across arthropods, ladybird beetles represent a hotspot for these symbioses. In some host species, there are multiple different symbionts that vary in presence and frequency between populations. To further our understanding of spatial and frequency variation, we tested for the presence of three male-killing bacteria: Wolbachia , Rickettsia and Spiroplasma , in two Adalia ladybird species from a previously unexplored UK population. The two-spot ladybird, A. bipunctata, is known to harbour all three male-killers, and we identified Spiroplasma infection in the Merseyside population for the first time. However, in contrast to previous studies on two-spot ladybirds from continental Europe, evidence from egg-hatch rates indicates the Spiroplasma strain present in the Merseyside population does not cause embryonic male-killing. In the related ten-spot ladybird, A. decempunctata, there is only one previous record of a male-killing symbiont, a Rickettsia , which we did not detect in the Merseyside sample. However, PCR assays indicated the presence of a Spiroplasma in a single A. decempunctata specimen. Marker sequence indicated that this Spiroplasma was divergent from that found in sympatric A. bipunctata. Genome sequencing of the Spiroplasma -infected A. decempunctata additionally revealed the presence of cobionts in the form of a Centistes parasitoid wasp and the parasitic fungi Beauveria. Further study of A. decempunctata from this population is needed to resolve whether it is the ladybird or wasp cobiont that harbours Spiroplasma , and to establish the phenotype of this strain. These data indicate first that microbial symbiont phenotype should not be assumed from past studies conducted in different locations, and second that cobiont presence may confound screening studies aimed to detect the frequency of a symbiont in field collected material from a focal host species.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: QX Parasitology > QX 45 Host-parasite relations
QX Parasitology > Arthropods > QX 460 Arthropods
Faculty: Department: Biological Sciences > Vector Biology Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
SWORD Depositor: JISC Pubrouter
Depositing User: JISC Pubrouter
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2023 08:30
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2023 16:09


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