The Gut microbiota of the pine weevil is similar across Europe and resembles that of other conifer-feeding beetles
2016 (English)In: Molecular Ecology, ISSN 0962-1083, E-ISSN 1365-294XArticle in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
The pine weevil (Hylobius abietis, Coleoptera: Curculionidae) is an important pest of conifer seedlings in Europe. Despite its economic importance, little is known about the composition of its gut microbial community and the role it plays in mediating the weevil's ability to utilize conifers as a food source. Here, we characterized the gut bacterial communities of different populations of H. abietis across Europe and compared them to those of other beetles that occupy similar ecological niches. We demonstrate that the microbial community of H. abietis is similar at higher taxonomic levels (family and genus) across locations in Europe, with Wolbachia as the dominant microbe, followed by Enterobacteria and Firmicutes. Despite this similarity, we observed consistent differences between countries and locations, but not sexes. Our meta-analysis demonstrates that the gut bacterial community of the pine weevil is very similar to that of bark beetles that also exploit conifers as a food source. The Enterobacteriaceae symbionts of both host taxa are especially closely related phylogenetically. Conversely, the microbiota of H. abietis is distinct from that of closely related weevils feeding on non-conifer food sources, suggesting that the microbial community of the pine weevil is determined by the environment and may be relevant to host ecology. Furthermore, several H. abietis-associated members of the Enterobacteriaceae family are known to contain genes involved in terpenoid degradation. As such, we hypothesize that the gut microbial community is important for the utilization of conifer seedlings as a food source, either through the detoxification of plant secondary metabolites or supplementation of essential nutrients.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Hylobius abietis, conifer, terpenes, insect symbiosis, bark beetle, microbiota
Research subject Chemistry
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-187816DOI: 10.1111/mec.13702OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-187816DiVA: diva2:931673
QC 201605302016-05-302016-05-302016-05-30Bibliographically approved