Microbial community of predatory bugs of the genus **Macrolophus** (Hemiptera: Miridae)
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences . Biomedical Sciences
BMC microbiology. - London
, p. 1-14
Background: The predatory mirids of the genus Macrolophus are key natural enemies of various economically important agricultural pests. Both M. caliginosus and M. pygmaeus are commercially available for the augmentative biological control of arthropod pests in European greenhouses. The latter species is known to be infected with Wolbachia -inducing cytoplasmic incompatibility in its host- but the presence of other endosymbionts has not been demonstrated. In the present study, the microbial diversity was examined in various populations of M. caliginosus and M. pygmaeus by 16S rRNA sequencing and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis. Results: Besides Wolbachia, a co-infection of 2 Rickettsia species was detected in all M. pygmaeus populations. Based on a concatenated alignment of the 16S rRNA gene, the gltA gene and the coxA gene, the first is phylogenetically related to Rickettsia bellii, whereas the other is closely related to Rickettsia limoniae. All M. caliginosus populations were infected with the same Wolbachia and limoniae-like Rickettsia strain as M. pygmaeus, but did not harbour the bellii like Rickettsia strain. Interestingly, individuals with a single infection were not found. A PCR assay on the ovaries of M. pygmaeus and M. caliginosus indicated that all endosymbionts are vertically transmitted. The presence of Wolbachia and Rickettsia in oocytes was confirmed by a fluorescence in situ hybridisation. A bio-assay comparing an infected and an uninfected M. pygmaeus population suggested that the endosymbionts had minor effects on nymphal development of their insect host and did not influence its fecundity. Conclusion: Two species of the palaearctic mirid genus Macrolophus are infected with multiple endosymbionts, including Wolbachia and Rickettsia. Independent of the origin, all tested populations of both M. pygmaeus and M. caliginosus were infected with three and two endosymbionts, respectively. There was no indication that infection with endosymbiotic bacteria had a fitness cost in terms of development and fecundity of the predators.