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Insects 2018, 9(4), 188; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects9040188

Hibernation Leads to Altered Gut Communities in Bumblebee Queens (Bombus terrestris)

1
Laboratory for Process Microbial Ecology and Bioinspirational Management (PME&BIM), Department of Microbial and Molecular Systems, KU Leuven, Campus De Nayer, B-2860 Sint-Katelijne-Waver, Belgium
2
Plant Conservation and Population Biology, Biology Department, KU Leuven, B-3001 Heverlee, Belgium
3
Biobest Group, B-2260 Westerlo, Belgium
4
Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YQ, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 October 2018 / Revised: 5 October 2018 / Accepted: 21 November 2018 / Published: 7 December 2018
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Abstract

Many reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and insects practice some form of hibernation during which their metabolic rate is drastically reduced. This allows them to conserve energy and survive the harsh winter conditions with little or no food. While it can be expected that a reduction in host metabolism has a substantial influence on the gut microbial community, little is known about the effects of hibernation on the composition of the microbial gut community, especially for insects. In this study, we assessed and compared the bacterial gut community composition within the midgut and ileum of indoor-reared queens of Bombus terrestris before and after an artificial hibernation period of 16 weeks. Deep sequencing of 16S ribosomal RNA gene amplicons and clustering of sequence reads into operational taxonomic units (OTUs) at a similarity threshold of 97% revealed several bacterial taxa that are known to be strongly associated with corbiculate bees. Bacterial community composition after hibernation compared to before hibernation was characterized by higher OTU richness and evenness, with decreased levels of the core bacteria Gilliamella (Proteobacteria, Orbaceae) and Snodgrassella (Proteobacteria, Neisseriaceae), and increased relative abundance of non-core bacteria, including several psychrophilic and psychrotrophic taxa. View Full-Text
Keywords: Bombus terrestris; gut microbiota; hibernation; ileum; midgut; queen Bombus terrestris; gut microbiota; hibernation; ileum; midgut; queen
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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 (CC BY 4.0).

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Bosmans, L.; Pozo, M.I.; Verreth, C.; Crauwels, S.; Wäckers, F.; Jacquemyn, H.; Lievens, B. Hibernation Leads to Altered Gut Communities in Bumblebee Queens (Bombus terrestris). Insects 2018, 9, 188.

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