Many insects harbor specific bacteria in their digestive tract, and these gut microbiota often play important roles in digestion and nutrient provisioning. While it is common for a given insect species to harbor a representative gut microbial community as a population, how this community is acquired and maintained from generation to generation is not known for most xylophagous insects, except termites. In this study, we examined acquisition of gut microbiota by the wood-feeding beetle, Anoplophora glabripennis, by identifying and comparing microbial community members among different life stages of the insect and with microbes it encounters in the environment. Automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis was employed to compare bacterial communities present in the egg and larval stages of A. glabripennis as well as with microbes found in the oviposition site and the surrounding woody tissue. Multivariate analyses were used to identify relationships between sample type and specific bacterial types (operational taxonomic units). From this analysis, bacteria that were derived from the environment, the oviposition site, and/or the egg were identified and compared with taxa found in larvae. Results showed that while some larval microbes were derived from environmental sources, other members of the larval microbial community appear to be vertically transmitted. These findings could lead to a better understanding of which microbial species are critical for the survival of this insect and to development of techniques that could be used to alter this community to disrupt the digestive physiology of the host insect as a biological control measure.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Soil Science