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Insects 2011, 2(4), 540-554; doi:10.3390/insects2040540
Article

Adopting Bacteria in Order to Adapt to Water—How Reed Beetles Colonized the Wetlands (Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae, Donaciinae)

 and *
Received: 28 October 2011; in revised form: 16 November 2011 / Accepted: 25 November 2011 / Published: 9 December 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Symbiosis: A Source of Evolutionary Innovation in Insects)
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Abstract: The present paper reviews the biology of reed beetles (Donaciinae), presents experimental data on the role of specific symbiotic bacteria, and describes a molecular method for the detection of those bacteria. Reed beetles are herbivores living on wetland plants, each species being mono- or oligo-phagous. They lay their eggs on the host plant and the larvae live underwater in the sediment attached to its roots. The larvae pupate there in a water-tight cocoon, which they build using a secretion that is produced by symbiotic bacteria. The bacteria are located in four blind sacs at the foregut of the larvae; in (female) adults they colonize two out of the six Malpighian tubules. Tetracycline treatment of larvae reduced their pupation rate, although the bacteria could not be fully eliminated. When the small amount of bacterial mass attached to eggs was experimentally removed before hatching, symbiont free larvae resulted, showing the external transmission of the bacteria to the offspring. Specific primers were designed to detect the bacteria, and to confirm their absence in manipulated larvae. The pupation underwater enabled the reed beetles to permanently colonize the wetlands and to diversify in this habitat underexploited by herbivorous insects (adaptive radiation).
Keywords: Donaciinae; symbiosis; gamma-proteobacteria; co-speciation; tetracycline; pupation rate; cocoon formation Donaciinae; symbiosis; gamma-proteobacteria; co-speciation; tetracycline; pupation rate; cocoon formation
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Kleinschmidt, B.; Kölsch, G. Adopting Bacteria in Order to Adapt to Water—How Reed Beetles Colonized the Wetlands (Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae, Donaciinae). Insects 2011, 2, 540-554.

AMA Style

Kleinschmidt B, Kölsch G. Adopting Bacteria in Order to Adapt to Water—How Reed Beetles Colonized the Wetlands (Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae, Donaciinae). Insects. 2011; 2(4):540-554.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Kleinschmidt, Birgit; Kölsch, Gregor. 2011. "Adopting Bacteria in Order to Adapt to Water—How Reed Beetles Colonized the Wetlands (Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae, Donaciinae)." Insects 2, no. 4: 540-554.

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