Wolbachia endosymbiont responsible for cytoplasmic incompatibility in a terrestrial crustacean: effects in natural and foreign hosts


*E-mail: thierry.rigaud@univ-poitiers.fr


Wolbachia bacteria are vertically transmitted endosymbionts that disturb the reproduction of many arthropods thereby enhancing their spread in host populations. Wolbachia are often responsible for changes of sex ratios in terrestrial isopods, a result of the feminization of genotypic males. Here we found that the Wolbachia hosted by Cylisticus convexus (wCc) caused unidirectional cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI), an effect commonly found in insects. To understand the diversity of Wolbachia-induced effects in isopods, wCc were experimentally transferred in a novel isopod host, Armadillidium vulgare. wCc conserved the ability to induce CI. However, Wolbachia were not transmitted to the eggs, so the capacity to restore the compatibility in crosses involving two transinfected individuals was lost. The feminizing Wolbachia hosted by A. vulgare was unable to rescue CI induced by wCc. These results showed that Wolbachia in isopods did not evolved broadly to induce feminization, and that CI and the feminizing effect are probably due to different mechanisms. In addition, wCc reduces the mating capacity of infected C. convexus males, suggesting that the bacteria might alter reproductive behaviour. The maintenance of wCc in host populations is discussed.