Molecular evidence for multiple infections of a new subgroup of Wolbachia in the European raspberry beetle Byturus tomentosus


G. Malloch. Fax: +44-1382-562426;


Wolbachia, a group of maternally inherited intracellular parasitic bacteria, alter host reproduction, including the induction of thelytokous parthenogenesis, feminization of genetic males, son killing and, most commonly, the induction of cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI), in a diverse array of arthropods. CI can result in infertility and has attracted attention because of its potential in biological control and as an agent in speciation. Although there has been some analysis of overall infection rates in arthropods and within individual insect orders, there has been little exploration of within-species variation. In this study, primers specific for the ftsZ gene of Wolbachia were used to amplify it from different geographical samples of the European raspberry beetle (Byturus tomentosus), confirming the presence of Wolbachia. More than 99% of UK individuals were found to be infected with Wolbachia and 97% of these B. tomentosus beetles harboured multiple infections. Preliminary analysis of B. tomentosus beetles from continental European populations revealed a lower level of infection (24%) than those from the UK. Phylogenetic analysis using the ftsZ DNA sequences places Wolbachia from B. tomentosus into a new clade (Abt) within the A division, with some revisions to the existing Wolbachia phylogeny.