Wolbachia distribution in selected beetle taxa characterized by PCR screens and MLST data

2015-10 | journal article

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​Wolbachia distribution in selected beetle taxa characterized by PCR screens and MLST data​
Sontowski, R.; Bernhard, D.; Bleidorn, C. ; Schlegel, M. & Gerth, M.​ (2015) 
Ecology and Evolution5(19) pp. 4345​-4353​.​ DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.1641 

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Sontowski, Rebekka; Bernhard, Detlef; Bleidorn, Christoph ; Schlegel, Martin; Gerth, Michael
Wolbachia (Alphaproteobacteria) is an inherited endosymbiont of arthropods and filarial nematodes and was reported to be widespread across insect taxa. While Wolbachia's effects on host biology are not understood from most of these hosts, known Wolbachia-induced phenotypes cover a spectrum from obligate beneficial mutualism to reproductive manipulations and pathogenicity. Interestingly, data on Wolbachia within the most species-rich order of arthropods, the Coleoptera (beetles), are scarce. Therefore, we screened 128 species from seven beetle families (Buprestidae, Hydraenidae, Dytiscidae, Hydrophilidae, Gyrinidae, Haliplidae, and Noteridae) for the presence of Wolbachia. Our data show that, contrary to previous estimations, Wolbachia frequencies in beetles (31% overall) are comparable to the ones in other insects. In addition, we used Wolbachia MLST data and host phylogeny to explore the evolutionary history of Wolbachia strains from Hydraenidae, an aquatic lineage of beetles. Our data suggest that Wolbachia from Hydraenidae might be largely host genus specific and that Wolbachia strain phylogeny is not independent to that of its hosts. As this contrasts with most terrestrial Wolbachia-arthropod systems, one potential conclusion is that aquatic lifestyle of hosts may result in Wolbachia distribution patterns distinct from those of terrestrial hosts. Our data thus provide both insights into Wolbachia distribution among beetles in general and a first glimpse of Wolbachia distribution patterns among aquatic host lineages.
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Ecology and Evolution 



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