In addition to the essential intracellular symbiotic bacterium Buchnera, several facultative endosymbiotic bacteria called collectively secondary symbionts (S-symbionts) have been identified from the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum. We conducted an extensive and systematic survey of S-symbionts in Japanese local populations of A. pisum using a specific PCR detection technique. Five S-symbionts of A. pisum, PASS, PAUS, PABS, Rickettsia and Spiroplasma, and two facultative endosymbionts universally found in various insects, Wolbachia and Arsenophonus, were targeted. Of 119 isofemale strains originating from 81 localities, 66.4% of the strains possessed either of four S-symbionts: PASS (38.7%); PAUS (16.0%); Rickettsia (8.4%); and Spiroplasma (3.4%), while 33.6% of the strains contained only Buchnera. PABS, Wolbachia and Arsenophonus were not detected from the Japanese strains of A. pisum. In order to understand intra- and interpopulational diversity of S-symbiont microbiota in detail, 858 insects collected from 43 localities were examined for infection with the four S-symbionts. It was demonstrated that different S-symbionts coexist commonly in the same local populations, but double infections with two S-symbionts were rarely detected. Notably, the S-symbionts exhibited characteristic geographical distribution patterns: PASS at high frequencies all over Japan; PAUS at high frequencies mainly in the northeastern part of Japan; and Rickettsia and Spiroplasma at low frequencies sporadically in the southwestern part of Japan. These results indicate that the geographical distribution and infection frequency of the S-symbionts, in particular PAUS, might be affected by environmental and/or historical factors. Statistical analyses suggested that the distribution of PAUS infection might be related to host plant species, temperature and precipitation.
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