Melanic mutation causes a fitness decline in bean beetles infected by Wolbachia

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Wolbachia cannot live outside a host, which is thought to be the reason for host‐Wolbachia coevolution toward benign parasitism, especially because the fitness of Wolbachia is traded against its host's fitness. Insect melanism has been reported to have a positive effect on pathogen resistance, but melanic mutants of Callosobruchus analis (Fabricius) and Callosobruchus chinensis (L.) (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) are infected with Wolbachia. Callosobruchus chinensis is infected with CI‐inducing Wolbachia, and melanic mutants exhibit fitness decline. Interestingly, this decline is not observed in C. analis melanic mutants that are infected with CI‐free Wolbachia. Our research question is whether the infection of CI‐inducing Wolbachia causes fitness decline of melanic hosts in C. analis. We examined fecundity, fertility, and longevity of C. analis melanic mutants and compared them between uninfected and infected hosts with CI‐inducing Wolbachia. Infected melanic mutants of C. analis exhibited fitness decline leading to reduced hatch rates even when parental combinations were compatible. Wolbachia can invade a host population by causing CI to decrease the fraction of uninfected hosts, but melanic mutant hosts decrease the number of infected hosts through fitness decline. Nevertheless, the melanism in hosts is not able to stop Wolbachia invasion in C. analis.


  • Entomologia experimentalis et applicata

    Entomologia experimentalis et applicata 164(1), 54-65, 2017-07



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