• cytoplasmic incompatibility;
  • Rhagoletis cerasi;
  • superinfections;
  • Tephritidae;
  • Wolbachia


Wolbachia is an obligately intracellular, maternally inherited bacterium which has been detected in many arthropods. Wolbachia infections disperse in host populations by mechanisms such as cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI). CI leads to embryonic mortality which occurs when infected males mate with uninfected females or females with a different Wolbachia strain. Populations of the European cherry fruit fly Rhagoletis cerasi (Diptera, Tephritidae) were found to be infected by two different Wolbachia strains, wCer1 and wCer2. Superinfections with both strains occurred throughout southern and central Europe and infections with wCer1 were found in northern, western and eastern Europe. Strong unidirectional CI between European populations of R. cerasi were first reported in the 1970s. From the conformity in the recent geographical distribution of the Wolbachia infections and the CI expression patterns found 25 years ago it was deduced that wCer2 potentially causes CI in R. cerasi. The comparison of the geographical distributions indicated that wCer1 + 2 must have spread into wCer1-infected populations in some areas. In other regions, a spread of wCer1 + 2 was probably prevented by dispersal barriers. There, a sharp transition from infected to superinfected populations suggested regional isolation between wCer1 and wCer1 + 2-infected populations.