PLoS ONE (2014) 9 (10 - e111396)

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Gislaine A. Carvalho, Juliana L. Vieira, Marcelo M. Haro, Alberto S. Corrêa, Andrea Oliveira B. Ribon, Luiz Orlando de Oliveira and Raul Narciso C. Guedes (2014)
Pleiotropic impact of endosymbiont load and co-occurrence in the maize weevil Sitophilus zeamais
PLoS ONE 9 (10 - e111396)
Abstract: Individual traits vary among and within populations, and the co-occurrence of different endosymbiont species within a host may take place under varying endosymbiont loads in each individual host. This makes the recognition of the potential impact of such endosymbiont associations in insect species difficult, particularly in insect pest species. The maize weevil, Sitophilus zeamais Motsch. (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), a key pest species of stored cereal grains, exhibits associations with two endosymbiotic bacteria: the obligatory endosymbiont SZPE ("Sitophilus zeamais Primary Endosymbiont") and the facultative endosymbiont Wolbachia. The impact of the lack of SZPE in maize weevil physiology is the impairment of nutrient acquisition and energy metabolism, while Wolbachia is an important factor in reproductive incompatibility. However, the role of endosymbiont load and co-occurrence in insect behavior, grain consumption, body mass and subsequent reproductive factors has not yet been explored. Here we report on the impacts of co-occurrence and varying endosymbiont loads achieved via thermal treatment and antibiotic provision via ingested water in the maize weevil. SZPE exhibited strong effects on respiration rate, grain consumption and weevil body mass, with observed effects on weevil behavior, particularly flight activity, and potential consequences for the management of this pest species. Wolbachia directly favored weevil fertility and exhibited only mild indirect effects, usually enhancing the SZPE effect. SZPE suppression delayed weevil emergence, which reduced the insect population growth rate, and the thermal inactivation of both symbionts prevented insect reproduction. Such findings are likely important for strain divergences reported in the maize weevil and their control, aspects still deserving future attention.
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Full text of article
Database assignments for author(s): Raul Narciso C. Guedes

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
general biology - morphology - evolution

Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.

Sitophilus zeamais