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Open AccessCase Report

First Insight into Microbiome Profiles of Myrmecophilous Beetles and Their Host, Red Wood Ant Formica polyctena (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)—A Case Study

1
Department of Genetics and Biosystematics, Faculty of Biology, University of Gdansk, Wita Stwosza 59, 80-308 Gdansk, Poland
2
Isobolographic Analysis Laboratory, Institute of Rural Health, Jaczewskiego 2, 20-090 Lublin, Poland
3
Department of Zoology and Nature Protection, Maria Curie-Sklodowska University, Akademicka 19, 20-033 Lublin, Poland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Insects 2020, 11(2), 134; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11020134
Received: 23 December 2019 / Revised: 10 February 2020 / Accepted: 17 February 2020 / Published: 19 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ants as Partners and Hosts)
Formica polyctena belongs to the red wood ant species group. Its nests provide a stable, food rich, and temperature and humidity controlled environment, utilized by a wide range of species, called myrmecophiles. Here, we used the high-throughput sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene on the Illumina platform for identification of the microbiome profiles of six selected myrmecophilous beetles (Dendrophilus pygmaeus, Leptacinus formicetorum, Monotoma angusticollis, Myrmechixenus subterraneus, Ptenidium formicetorum and Thiasophila angulata) and their host F. polyctena. Analyzed bacterial communities consisted of a total of 23 phyla, among which Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, and Firmicutes were the most abundant. Two known endosymbionts—Wolbachia and Rickettsia—were found in the analyzed microbiome profiles and Wolbachia was dominant in bacterial communities associated with F. polyctena, M. subterraneus, L. formicetorum and P. formicetorum (>90% of reads). In turn, M. angusticollis was co-infected with both Wolbachia and Rickettsia, while in the microbiome of T. angulata, the dominance of Rickettsia has been observed. The relationships among the microbiome profiles were complex, and no relative abundance pattern common to all myrmecophilous beetles tested was observed. However, some subtle, species-specific patterns have been observed for bacterial communities associated with D. pygmaeus, M. angusticollis, and T. angulata. View Full-Text
Keywords: 16S rRNA; Formica polyctena; microbiome; myrmecophile; Rickettsia; Wolbachia 16S rRNA; Formica polyctena; microbiome; myrmecophile; Rickettsia; Wolbachia
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Kaczmarczyk-Ziemba, A.; Zagaja, M.; Wagner, G.K.; Pietrykowska-Tudruj, E.; Staniec, B. First Insight into Microbiome Profiles of Myrmecophilous Beetles and Their Host, Red Wood Ant Formica polyctena (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)—A Case Study. Insects 2020, 11, 134.

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