Fitness effects of two facultative endosymbiotic bacteria on the pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum, and the blue alfalfa aphid, A. kondoi

Authors

  • De-Qiao Chen,

    1. Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, Division of Insect Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-3112, USA
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    • *

      Department of Research, Evanston Northwestern Healthcare, 2650 Ridge Avenue, Evanston, IL 60201-1782, USA

  • Clytia B. Montllor,

    1. Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, Division of Insect Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-3112, USA
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  • Alexander H. Purcell

    1. Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, Division of Insect Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-3112, USA
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Abstract

The effects of two bacterial endosymbionts, designated PASS and PAR, were evaluated on the pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum (Harris) (Hemiptera:Aphididae), in which they occur facultatively, and on the blue alfalfa aphid, A. kondoi Shinji, in which these bacteria have not been found in natural populations. Subclones of pea aphids and blue alfalfa aphids, derived from parent aphid clones that did not contain PASS or PAR, were infected with one or both bacteria, generating PASS- and/or PAR-positive subclones with minimal genetic differences from the parent clones. Under laboratory conditions at 20 °C, PAR consistently reduced the fecundity (by between 19 and 60%) of subclones derived from three different parent pea aphid clones on bur clover, Medicago hispida Gaertn. PAR had intermediate effects on pea aphids reared on sweet pea, Lathyrus odoratus L., and had no significant effect on pea aphids on alfalfa, Medicago sativa L. The effect of PASS was either neutral or negative, depending on parent clone as well as host plant. Also at 20 °C, PASS reduced fecundity (70–77%) and longevity (40–48%), and increased the age of first reproduction (by up to 1.5 days) of blue alfalfa aphid reared on alfalfa and clover. PAR had a less dramatic effect (e.g., 30–39% reduction in fecundity) on these traits of blue alfalfa aphid. In contrast, PAR and PASS increased the fitness of pea aphid subclones of one parent clone reared for three generations at 25 °C on each of the three test plants. Without facultative bacteria, fecundity of the parent clone was reduced to a mean total of < 6 offspring per adult at this elevated temperature, but with PASS or PAR, mean total fecundity of its subclones was > 35. However, this ameliorative effect of facultative bacteria at 25 °C was not found for two other sets of parent clones and their derived subclones. Alate production in pea aphids was significantly increased in large populations of two PASS- and PAR-positive subclones relative to their parent clones. Attempts to transmit PASS or PAR horizontally, i.e., from aphid to aphid via feeding on host plants (bur clover), were unsuccessful.

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