Microbial symbionts play pivotal roles in the ecology and physiology of insects feeding in woody plants. Both eukaryotic and bacterial members occur in these systems where they facilitate digestive and nutrient provisioning. The larval gut of the Asian longhorned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) is associated with a microbial consortium that fulfills these metabolic roles. While members of the community vary in presence and abundance among individuals from different hosts, A. glabripennis is consistently associated with a fungus in the Fusarium solani species complex (FSSC). We used amplicon sequencing, taxon-specific PCR, culturing, and imaging to determine how bacterial and fungal communities differ between life stages and possible modes of symbiont transfer. The bacterial and fungal communities of adult guts were more diverse than those from larvae and eggs. The communities of larvae and eggs were more similar to those from oviposition sites than from adult female guts. FSSC isolates were not detected in the reproductive tissues of adult females, but were consistently detected on egg surfaces after oviposition and in frass. These results demonstrate that frass can serve as a vehicle of transmission of a subset for the beetle gut microbiota. Vertically transmitted symbionts are often beneficial to their host, warranting subsequent functional studies.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Soil Science