Publication: insect microbiota

April 21st, 2014

Jing XF, Wong ACN, Chaston JM, Colvin J, McKenzie CL and Douglas AE, 2014. The bacterial communities in plant phloem sap feeding insects. Molecular Ecology 23:1433-1444

In this paper, we combined forces with Cindy McKenzie (USDA Fort Pierce, FLA) and John Colvin (Natural Resources Institute, UK) to investigate the diversity of bacteria associated with the whitefly Bemisia tabaci and other phloem sap-feeding insects.  After correction for sequencing error, just 3–7 bacterial operational taxonomic units were recovered from each insect sample sequenced to sufficient depth for saturation of rarefaction curves. Most samples were dominated by primary and secondary symbionts, which are localized to insect cells or the body cavity. Diversity indices of the bacterial communities (Shannon’s index: 0.40–1.46, Simpson’s index: 0.15–0.74) did not differ significantly between laboratory and field samples of the phloem-feeding insects, but were significantly lower than in drosophilid flies quantified by the same methods. Both the low bacterial content of the phloem sap diet and biological processes in the insect may contribute to the apparently low bacterial diversity in these phloem-feeding insects.

This paper is a contribution to the Special Issue of Molecular Ecology on Nature's Microbiome.