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Exp Appl Acarol. 1999 Nov;23(11):871-81.

High temperatures eliminate Wolbachia, a cytoplasmic incompatibility inducing endosymbiont, from the two-spotted spider mite.

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Institute of Systematics and Population Biology, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Wolbachia can induce cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) in the arrhenotokous two-spotted spider mite between uninfected females and infected males. Cytoplasmic incompatibility is expressed through a male-biased sex ratio and a low hatchability, and can be suppressed by removing Wolbachia from spider mites reared on a diet with antibiotics. Here we investigated whether heat-treatment can elimate Wolbachia from infected mites. Using a PCR assay with a Wolbachia-specific primer pair (ftsZ), and by standard crosses, we were able to show that 71 per cent of the mites had lost the Wolbachia infection after rearing the infected population at 32+/-0.5 degrees C for four generations. The infection could be completely removed when mites were reared at 32+/-0.5 degrees C for six generations. Curing through high temperatures could be one of the reasons why mixed infected/uninfected populations occur in the field. An additional consequence of rearing mites at 32+/-0.5 degrees C was the shortened development time. The effect of environmental temperature on the abundance of Wolbachia and possible behavioural consequences for the spider mite are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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