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Pest Management Science

Yehuda Izraeli 

 

Maya Lalzar 

 

Nir Netanel 

 

Netta Mozes‐Daube 

 

Shimon Steinberg 

 

Elad Chiel 

 

Einat Zchori‐Fein

BACKGROUND

Like numerous other animals, biocontrol agents (BCAs) of arthropod pests carry various microorganisms that may have diverse effects on the biology of their eukaryote hosts. We postulated that it is possible to improve the efficacy of BCAs by manipulating the composition of their associated microbiota. The parasitoid wasp Anagyrus vladimiri (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae) from a mass‐rearing facility was chosen for testing this hypothesis.

RESULTS

High‐throughput sequencing analysis indicated that fungal abundance in A. vladimiri was low and variable, whereas the bacterial community was dominated by the endosymbiont WolbachiaWolbachia was fixed in the mass‐rearing population, whereas in field‐collected A. vladimiri Wolbachia's prevalence was only approximately 20%. Identification of Wolbachia strains from the two populations by Multi Locus Sequence Typing, revealed two closely related but unique strains. A series of bioassays with the mass‐rearing Wolbachia‐fixed (W+) and a derived antibiotic‐treated Wolbachia‐free (W) lines revealed that: (i) Wolbachia does not induce reproductive manipulations; (ii) W females have higher fecundity when reared individually, but not when reared with conspecifics; (iii) W+ females outcompete W when they share hosts for oviposition; (iv) longevity and developmental time were similar in both lines.

CONCLUSIONS

The findings suggest that W+ A. vladimiri have no clear fitness benefit under mass‐rearing conditions and may be disadvantageous under lab‐controlled conditions. In a broader view, the results suggest that augmentative biological control can benefit from manipulation of the microbiome of natural enemies.

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Wolbachia influence on the fitness of Anagyrus vladimiri (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae), a bio-control agent of mealybugs

Yehuda Izraeli 

 

Maya Lalzar 

 

Nir Netanel 

 

Netta Mozes‐Daube 

 

Shimon Steinberg 

 

Elad Chiel 

 

Einat Zchori‐Fein

Wolbachia influence on the fitness of Anagyrus vladimiri (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae), a bio-control agent of mealybugs

BACKGROUND

Like numerous other animals, biocontrol agents (BCAs) of arthropod pests carry various microorganisms that may have diverse effects on the biology of their eukaryote hosts. We postulated that it is possible to improve the efficacy of BCAs by manipulating the composition of their associated microbiota. The parasitoid wasp Anagyrus vladimiri (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae) from a mass‐rearing facility was chosen for testing this hypothesis.

RESULTS

High‐throughput sequencing analysis indicated that fungal abundance in A. vladimiri was low and variable, whereas the bacterial community was dominated by the endosymbiont WolbachiaWolbachia was fixed in the mass‐rearing population, whereas in field‐collected A. vladimiri Wolbachia's prevalence was only approximately 20%. Identification of Wolbachia strains from the two populations by Multi Locus Sequence Typing, revealed two closely related but unique strains. A series of bioassays with the mass‐rearing Wolbachia‐fixed (W+) and a derived antibiotic‐treated Wolbachia‐free (W) lines revealed that: (i) Wolbachia does not induce reproductive manipulations; (ii) W females have higher fecundity when reared individually, but not when reared with conspecifics; (iii) W+ females outcompete W when they share hosts for oviposition; (iv) longevity and developmental time were similar in both lines.

CONCLUSIONS

The findings suggest that W+ A. vladimiri have no clear fitness benefit under mass‐rearing conditions and may be disadvantageous under lab‐controlled conditions. In a broader view, the results suggest that augmentative biological control can benefit from manipulation of the microbiome of natural enemies.

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