Chelonus inanitus (L.) is an egg-larval parasitoid of noctuids Spodoptera exigua (Hübner) and S. littoralis (Boisduval), whose mass rearing or real potential has not been targeted yet. To improve the rearing in the factitious host Ephestia kuehniella Zeller, we investigated the influence of host age and number of females parasitizing simultaneously on the overall rearing success, the influence of host age on the life cycle, and the influence of host species on the parasitoid body size. The proportion of emerging C. inanitus was higher from young host eggs, but more females emerged from mature eggs. Under high parasitoid competition, we observed a reduction in non-parasitized hosts without reducing parasitoid emergence. The parasitoid life cycle was longer in females, but the mismatch between sexes was smaller in mature eggs. The parasitoid size was smaller in the factitious host than in the natural hosts. Under semi-field conditions, we investigated the competition among parasitoid females on the overall parasitism success. The reproductive parasitism was more successful in S. exigua than in S. littoralis, and the maximum emergence was reached with three and four females, respectively. The control of S. littoralis may be attributed to the high developmental mortality, a non-reproductive parasitism that is often underestimated.
Bumblebees are key pollinators in agricultural landscapes. However, little is known about how gut microbial communities respond to anthropogenic changes. We used commercially produced colonies of buff-tailed bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) placed in three habitats. Whole guts (midgut, hindgut, and rectum) of B. terrestris specimens were dissected from the body and analyzed using 16S phylogenetic community analysis. We observed significantly different bacterial community composition between the agricultural landscapes (apple orchards and oilseed rape (Brassica napus) fields) and forest meadows, whereas differences in gut communities between the orchards and oilseed rape fields were nonsignificant. Bee-specific bacterial genera such as Lactobacillus, Snodgrassella, and Gilliamella dominated gut communities of B. terrestris specimens. In contrast, the guts of B. terrestris from forest meadows were dominated by fructose-associated Fructobacillus spp. Bacterial communities of workers were the most diverse. At the same time, those of males and young queens were less diverse, possibly reflecting greater exposure to the colony’s inner environment compared to the environment outside the colony, as well as bumblebee age. Our results suggest that habitat quality, exposure to environmental microbes, nectar quality and accessibility, and land use significantly affect gut bacterial composition in B. terrestris.
Latitudinal gradients allow insights into the factors that shape ecosystem structure and delimit ecosystem processes, particularly climate. We asked whether the biomass and diversity of soil macrofauna in boreal forests change systematically along a latitudinal gradient spanning from 60° N to 69° N. Invertebrates (3697 individuals) were extracted from 400 soil samples (20 × 20 cm, 30 cm depth) collected at ten sites in 2015–2016 and then weighed and identified. We discovered 265 species living in soil and on the soil surface; their average density was 0.486 g d·w·m−2. The species-level diversity decreased from low to high latitudes. The biomass of soil macrofauna showed no latitudinal changes in early summer but decreased towards the north in late summer. This variation among study sites was associated with the decrease in mean annual temperature by ca 5 °C and with variation in fine root biomass. The biomass of herbivores and fungivores decreased towards the north, whereas the biomass of detritivores and predators showed no significant latitudinal changes. This variation in latitudinal biomass patterns among the soil macrofauna feeding guilds suggests that these guilds may respond differently to climate change, with poorly understood consequences for ecosystem structure and functions.
The genera Abaria Mosely 1948 and Drepanocentron Schmid 1982 are recorded in China for the first time. In this study, two new species, Abaria herringbona sp. nov., from Guang-xi, and Drepanocentron fuxiensis sp. nov., from An-hui, are described and illustrated. Male genitalia of these two new species is distinguishable from those of other Abaria and Drepanocentron species. In addition, Melanotrichia attia Malicky & Chantaramongkol 1992 is a new record for the Chinese caddisfly fauna.
Lema bilineata Germar (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) was recently reported to damage Physalis peruviana crops in Brazil. Given the potential for inflicting damage on other Solanaceae species and the lack of alternatives for controlling this pest, we assessed the pathogenicity of 15 Beauveria isolates against L. bilineata adults in vitro. In addition, three of these isolates were tested for their ovicidal effect against L. bilineata eggs. Fungal strains were isolated from mummified corpses of L. bilineata collected in a non-commercial field in Paraná, Brazil. The isolates were identified as Beauveria bassiana using molecular markers. Lema bilineata adults were susceptible to conidial suspensions of all these isolates at a concentration of 108 conidia mL−1. Deaths caused by fungal extrusion were confirmed. Three strains were found to be more virulent against L. bilineata adults and showed ovicidal effects. This is the first study on entomopathogenic fungi isolated from dead insects collected from P. peruviana crops and tested against L. bilineata carried out in Brazil. The results obtained in the laboratory indicate the high potential of the use of three B. bassiana strains against L. bilineata as a biocontrol agent.
The relative quantification of gene expression is mainly achieved through reverse transcription-quantitative PCR (qRT-PCR); however, its reliability and precision rely on proper data normalization using one or more optimal reference genes. Hyphantria cunea (Drury) has been an invasive pest of forest trees, ornamental plants, and fruit trees in China for many years. Currently, the molecular physiological role of reference genes in H. cunea is unclear, which hinders functional gene study. Therefore, eight common reference genes, RPS26, RPL13, UBI, AK, RPS15, EIF4A, β-actin, α-tub, were selected to evaluate levels of gene expression stability when subjected to varied experimental conditions, including developmental stage and gender, different tissues, larvae reared on different hosts and different larval density. The geNorm, BestKeeper, ΔCt method, and NormFinder statistical algorithms were used to normalize gene transcription data. Furthermore, the stability/suitability of these candidates was ranked overall by RefFinder. This study provides a comprehensive evaluation of reference genes in H. cunea and could help select reference genes for other Lepidoptera species.
Combining thermopreference (Tp) and CO2-gated heat-seeking assays, we studied the thermal preferendum and response to thermal cues in three Culex mosquito species exhibiting differences in native habitat and host preference (e.g., biting cold and/or warm-blooded animals). Results show that these species differ in both Tp and heat-seeking behavior. In particular, we found that Culex territans, which feed primarily on cold-blood hosts, did not respond to heat during heat-seeking assays, regardless of the CO2 concentration, but exhibited an intermediate Tp during resting. In contrast, Cx. quinquefasciatus, which feeds on warm blooded hosts, sought the coolest locations on a thermal gradient and responded only moderately to thermal stimuli when paired with CO2 at higher concentrations. The third species, Cx. tarsalis, which has been shown to feed on a wide range of hosts, responded to heat when paired with high CO2 levels and exhibited a high Tp. This study provides the first insights into the role of heat and CO2 in the host seeking behavior of three disease vectors in the Culex genus and highlights differences in preferred resting temperatures.
The red-necked longicorn beetle, Aromia bungii (Faldermann) (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae), is a major destructive, wood-boring pest, which is widespread throughout the world. The sex pheromone of A. bungii was reported earlier; however, the chemosensory mechanism of the beetle remains almost unknown. In this study, 45 AbunORs, 6 AbunGRs and 2 AbunIRs were identified among 42,197 unigenes derived from the antennal transcriptome bioinformatic analysis of A. bungii adults. The sequence of putative Orco (AbunOR25) found in this study is highly conserved with the known Orcos from other Coleoptera species, and these Orco genes might be potentially used as target genes for the future development of novel and effective control strategies. Tissue expression analysis showed that 29 AbunOR genes were highly expressed in antennae, especially in the antennae of females, which was consistent with the idea that females might express more pheromone receptors for sensing pheromones, especially the sex pheromones produced by males. AbunOR5, 29, 31 and 37 were clustered with the pheromone receptors of the cerambycid Megacyllene caryae, suggesting that they might be putative pheromone receptors of A. bungii. All six AbunGRs were highly expressed in the mouthparts, indicating that these GRs may be involved in the taste perception process. Both AbunIRs were shown to be female-mouthparts-biased, suggesting that they might also be related to the tasting processes. Our study provides some basic information towards a deeper understanding of the chemosensing mechanism of A. bungii at a molecular level.
Dryocosmus kuriphilus (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae) induces galls on chestnut trees, which results in massive yield losses worldwide. Torymus sinensis (Hymenoptera: Torymidae) is a host-specific parasitoid that phenologically synchronizes with D. kuriphilus. Bacteria play important roles in the life cycle of galling insects. The aim of this research is to investigate the bacterial communities and predominant bacteria of D. kuriphilus, T. sinensis, D. kuriphilus galls and the galled twigs of Castanea mollissima. We sequenced the V5–V7 region of the bacterial 16S ribosomal RNA in D. kuriphilus, T. sinensis, D. kuriphilus galls and galled twigs using high-throughput sequencing for the first time. We provide the first evidence that D. kuriphilus shares most bacterial species with T. sinensis, D. kuriphilus galls and galled twigs. The predominant bacteria of D. kuriphilus are Serratia sp. and Pseudomonas sp. Furthermore, the bacterial community structures of D. kuriphilus and T. sinensis clearly differ from those of the other groups. Many species of the Serratia and Pseudomonas genera are plant pathogenic bacteria, and we suggest that D. kuriphilus may be a potential vector of plant pathogens. Furthermore, a total of 111 bacteria are common to D. kuriphilus adults, T. sinensis, D. kuriphilus galls and galled twigs, and we suggest that the bacteria may transmit horizontally among D. kuriphilus, T. sinensis, D. kuriphilus galls and galled twigs on the basis of their ecological associations.
The brown planthopper (BPH), Nilaparvata lugens, is a serious pest of rice throughout Asia. Yeast-like symbionts (YLS) are endosymbionts closely linked with the development of BPH and the adapted mechanism of BPH virulence to resistant plants. In this study, we used semi-quantitative DGGE and absolute quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) to quantify the number of the three YLS strains (Ascomycetes symbionts, Pichia-like symbionts, and Candida-like symbionts) that typically infect BPH in the nymphal stages and in newly emerged female adults. The quantities of each of the three YLS assessed increased in tandem with the developing nymphal instar stages, peaking at the fourth instar stage, and then declined significantly at the fifth instar stage. However, the amount of YLS present recovered sharply within the emerging adult females. Additionally, we estimated the quantities of YLS for up to eight generations after their inoculation onto resistant cultivars (Mudgo, ASD7, and RH) to reassociate the dynamics of YLS with the fitness of BPH. The minimum number of each YLS was detected in the second generation and gradually increased from the third generation with regard to resistant rice varieties. In addition, the Ascomycetes symbionts of YLS were found to be the most abundant of the three YLS strains tested for all of the development stages of BPH.