PCR-based detection of Wolbachia, cytoplasmic incompatibility microorganisms, infected in natural populations of Laodelphax striatellus (Homoptera: Delphacidae) in central Japan: has the distribution of Wolbachia spread recently?


Laboratory of Applied Entomology, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Tokyo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113, Japan.


Cytoplasmic incompatibility is caused in various insects by intracellular infection with rickettsia-like microorganisms of the genus Wolbachia. In Japan Laodelphax striatellus shows unidirectional cytoplasmic incompatibility between northeastern and southwestern populations. In this study, nine natural populations of L. striatellus collected from central Japan, including the geographic boundary between the two cytotype populations, were analysed for Wolbachia infection by PCR using primers specific to Wolbachia 16S rDNA. The geographic pattern of the infection rates of the southwestern (high) and the northeastern (low or zero) populations broadly resembled that of a previous study of incompatibility. In populations which originated from the boundary regions between the southwestern and northeastern populations, the infected and uninfected cytotypes coexisted. It is suggested that in some populations of L. striatellus, which formerly had been uninfected with Wolbachia, the infection property has changed to the infected. Based on our results, we conclude that the distribution of Wolbachia-infected L. striatellus populations have spread northeasterly during the last 12 years.