Impact of a parasitoid on the bacterial symbiosis of its aphid host

  • Cloutier C
  • Douglas A
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Embryo production in aphids is absolutely dependent on the function of symbiotic bacteria, mainly Buchnera, and the growth and development of koinobiont parasitoids in aphids requires the diversion of nutrients from aphid embryo production to the parasitoid. The implication that the bacterial symbiosis may be promoted in parasitized aphids to support the growing parasitoid was explored by analysis of the number and biomass of mycetocytes, and the aphid cells bearing Buchnera, in the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum Harris ( Hemiptera: Aphididae) parasitized by the wasp Aphidius ervi Haliday ( Hymenoptera: Braconidae). Aphids hosting a young larval parasitoid bore more mycetocytes of greater total biomass, and embryos of lower biomass than unparasitized aphids. Furthermore, one of the three aphid clones tested, which limited teratocyte growth ( giant cells of parasitoid origin having a trophic role), bore smaller mycetocytes and larger embryos, than one or both of the two aphid clones with greater susceptibility to the parasitoid. These data suggest that susceptibility of the aphid-Buchnera symbiosis to parasitoid-mediated manipulation may, directly or indirectly, contribute to aphid susceptibility to parasitoid exploitation.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Aphid embryos
  • Bacterial symbiosis
  • Braconidae
  • Buchnera aphidicola
  • Host susceptibility
  • Hymenoptera
  • Koinobiont parasitoid
  • Mycetocytes
  • Teratocytes

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