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J Invertebr Pathol. 2000 May;75(4):267-72.

Wolbachia density and host fitness components in Muscidifurax uniraptor (Hymenoptera: pteromalidae).

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Department of Entomology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot, 76100, Israel.


Intracellular bacteria of the genus Wolbachia are found in a variety of arthropod hosts, where they cause various reproductive disorders. Attempts to study the fitness advantages and disadvantages of carrying these symbionts have yielded contradicting results. Using various doses of the antibiotic rifampicin, we were able to manipulate the density of Wolbachia in the uniparental parasitoid Muscidifurax uniraptor (Hymenoptera: Pteromalidae). The effect of different titers of the symbiont on the fecundity, reproductive rate, longevity, survival rate, and sex ratio of the host was measured. The data gathered show that following antibiotic treatments, the percentage of males rises at low doses of rifampicin and then drops again. The total sex ratio of offspring produced by treated mothers was positively correlated with the numbers of Wolbachia found in eggs laid by these females. No significant effects were detected with regard to the other studied fitness components. It is concluded that in M. uniraptor, Wolbachia are not posing any burden on the life history trait studied.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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