Effects of Wolbachia-targeted tetracycline on a host-parasitoid-symbiont interaction

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Abstract

The uzifly, Exorista sorbillans (Diptera: Tachinidae), a parasite of the silkworm, Bombyx mori L. (Lepidoptera: Bombycidae), causes heavy losses to the silk industry. This parasitoid harbours a Wolbachia endosymbiont, which controls the fly's reproduction. In the present study a method for curtailing this notorious pest by administering Wolbachia-targeted tetracycline via its silkworm host's diet is investigated. Tetracycline not only influenced the larval growth of the silkworms' by decreasing larval duration, increased silk production and fecundity, without affecting hatchability, it also decreased the reproductive fitness of the uzifly endoparasite by killing the Wolbachia. The antibiotic exerts a beneficial influence by affecting the intestinal flora of silkworm larvae. On the other hand the reproductive fitness of uzifly was greatly reduced in terms of different reproductive abnormalities. When male and female flies that emerged from treated host silkworms were crossed and males from untreated hosts and females from treated hosts were crossed, approximately 72% and 97% of the eggs failed to hatch, respectively. However, of the eggs from crosses between male and female flies that emerged from untreated hosts and between males from treated hosts with females from untreated hosts, an average of 30% failed to hatch and the Wolbachia infection enhanced the fecundity of uziflies. These results demonstrate that the Wolbachia may be essential for uzifly reproduction and that Wolbachia-targeted antibiotics have a beneficial influence on silkworm growth while decreasing the reproductive fitness of the uzifly, E. sorbillans.

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Puttaraju, H. P., & Prakash, B. M. (2005). Effects of Wolbachia-targeted tetracycline on a host-parasitoid-symbiont interaction. European Journal of Entomology, 102(4), 669–674. https://doi.org/10.14411/eje.2005.095

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