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Article

Infection Patterns and Fitness Effects of Rickettsia and Sodalis Symbionts in the Green Lacewing Chrysoperla carnea

1
German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, 04103 Leipzig, Germany
2
Institute of Biodiversity, Friedrich-Schiller-University, 07743 Jena, Germany
3
Department of Biological and Medical Sciences, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford OX3 0BP, UK
4
Department of Basic and Clinical Neuroscience, King’s College London, 5 Cutcombe Road, London SE5 9RT, UK
5
Institute of Biology, Molecular Evolution and Systematics of Animals, University of Leipzig, 04109 Leipzig, Germany
6
Chair of Zoology—Entomology Group, Technical University of Munich, 85354 Freising, Germany
7
Animal Evolution and Biodiversity, Georg-Augustus-University, 37073 Göttingen, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Insects 2020, 11(12), 867; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11120867
Received: 6 November 2020 / Revised: 27 November 2020 / Accepted: 4 December 2020 / Published: 7 December 2020
(This article belongs to the Collection Insect Symbionts: Evolution and Application)
Bacteria have occupied a wide range of habitats including insect hosts. There they can strongly affect host physiology and ecology in a positive or negative way. Bacteria living exclusively inside other organisms are called endosymbionts. They often establish a long-term and stable association with their host. Although more and more studies focus on endosymbiont–insect interactions, the group of Neuroptera is largely neglected in such studies. We were interested in the common green lacewing (Chrysoperla carnea), a representative of Neuroptera, which is mainly known for its use in biological pest control. We asked ourselves which endosymbionts are present in these lacewings. By screening natural and laboratory populations, we found that the endosymbiont Rickettsia is present in all populations but the symbiont Sodalis only occurred in laboratory populations. We were curious whether both endosymbionts affect reproduction success. Through establishing and studying green lacewing lines carrying different endosymbionts, we found that Rickettsia had no effect on the insect reproduction, while Sodalis reduced the number of eggs laid by lacewings, alone and in co-infections with Rickettsia. The economic and ecological importance of green lacewings in biological pest control warrants a more profound understanding of its biology, which might be strongly influenced by symbionts.
Endosymbionts are widely distributed in insects and can strongly affect their host ecology. The common green lacewing (Chrysoperla carnea) is a neuropteran insect which is widely used in biological pest control. However, their endosymbionts and their interactions with their hosts have not been very well studied. Therefore, we screened for endosymbionts in natural and laboratory populations of Ch. carnea using diagnostic PCR amplicons. We found the endosymbiont Rickettsia to be very common in all screened natural and laboratory populations, while a hitherto uncharacterized Sodalis strain was found only in laboratory populations. By establishing lacewing lines with no, single or co-infections of Sodalis and Rickettsia, we found a high vertical transmission rate for both endosymbionts (>89%). However, we were only able to estimate these numbers for co-infected lacewings. Sodalis negatively affected the reproductive success in single and co-infected Ch. carnea, while Rickettsia showed no effect. We hypothesize that the fitness costs accrued by Sodalis infections might be more tolerable in the laboratory than in natural populations, as the latter are also prone to fluctuating environmental conditions and natural enemies. The economic and ecological importance of lacewings in biological pest control warrants a more profound understanding of its biology, which might be influenced by symbionts. View Full-Text
Keywords: biological pest control; co-infection; endosymbiont; Neuroptera; Rickettsiales; symbiosis biological pest control; co-infection; endosymbiont; Neuroptera; Rickettsiales; symbiosis
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MDPI and ACS Style

Sontowski, R.; Gerth, M.; Richter, S.; Gruppe, A.; Schlegel, M.; van Dam, N.M.; Bleidorn, C. Infection Patterns and Fitness Effects of Rickettsia and Sodalis Symbionts in the Green Lacewing Chrysoperla carnea. Insects 2020, 11, 867. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11120867

AMA Style

Sontowski R, Gerth M, Richter S, Gruppe A, Schlegel M, van Dam NM, Bleidorn C. Infection Patterns and Fitness Effects of Rickettsia and Sodalis Symbionts in the Green Lacewing Chrysoperla carnea. Insects. 2020; 11(12):867. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11120867

Chicago/Turabian Style

Sontowski, Rebekka, Michael Gerth, Sandy Richter, Axel Gruppe, Martin Schlegel, Nicole M. van Dam, and Christoph Bleidorn. 2020. "Infection Patterns and Fitness Effects of Rickettsia and Sodalis Symbionts in the Green Lacewing Chrysoperla carnea" Insects 11, no. 12: 867. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11120867

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