Microbes are important for mosquito nutrition, growth, reproduction and control. In this study, we examined bacterial communities associated with larval mosquitoes and their habitats. Specifically, we characterized bacterial communities associated with late larval instars of the western encephalitis mosquito (Culex tarsalis), the submerged portions of two emergent macrophytes (California bulrush, Schoenoplectus californicus and alkali bulrush, Schoenoplectus maritimus), and the associated water columns to investigate potential differential use of resources by mosquitoes in different wetland habitats. Using next-generation sequence data from 16S rRNA gene hypervariable regions, the alpha diversity of mosquito gut microbial communities did not differ between pond mesocosms containing distinct monotypic plants. Proteobacteria, dominated by the genus Thorsellia (Enterobacteriaceae), was the most abundant phylum recovered from C. tarsalis larvae. Approximately 49% of bacterial OTUs found in larval mosquitoes were identical to OTUs recovered from the water column and submerged portions of the two bulrushes. Plant and water samples were similar to one another, both being dominated by Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Cyanobacteria, Proteobacteria and Verrucomicrobia phyla. Overall, the bacterial communities within C. tarsalis larvae were conserved and did not change across sampling dates and between two distinct plant habitats. Although Thorsellia spp. dominated mosquito gut communities, overlap of mosquito gut, plant and water-column OTUs likely reveal the effects of larval feeding. Future research will investigate the role of the key indicator groups of bacteria across the different developmental stages of this mosquito species. © 2013 Duguma et al.
Duguma, D., Rugman-Jones, P., Kaufman, M. G., Hall, M. W., Neufeld, J. D., Stouthamer, R., & Walton, W. E. (2013). Bacterial Communities Associated with Culex Mosquito Larvae and Two Emergent Aquatic Plants of Bioremediation Importance. PLoS ONE, 8(8). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0072522