Phylogenetic congruence of armored scale insects (Hemiptera: Diaspididae) and their primary endosymbionts from the phylum Bacteroidetes

Matthew E. Gruwell, Geoffrey E. Morse, Benjamin B. Normark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Insects in the sap-sucking hemipteran suborder Sternorrhyncha typically harbor maternally transmitted bacteria housed in a specialized organ, the bacteriome. In three of the four superfamilies of Sternorrhyncha (Aphidoidea, Aleyrodoidea, Psylloidea), the bacteriome-associated (primary) bacterial lineage is from the class Gammaproteobacteria (phylum Proteobacteria). The fourth superfamily, Coccoidea (scale insects), has a diverse array of bacterial endosymbionts whose affinities are largely unexplored. We have amplified fragments of two bacterial ribosomal genes from each of 68 species of armored scale insects (Diaspididae). In spite of initially using primers designed for Gammaproteobacteria, we consistently amplified sequences from a different bacterial phylum: Bacteroidetes. We use these sequences (16S and 23S, 2105 total base pairs), along with previously published sequences from the armored scale hosts (elongation factor 1α and 28S rDNA) to investigate phylogenetic congruence between the two clades. The Bayesian tree for the bacteria is roughly congruent with that of the hosts, with 67% of nodes identical. Partition homogeneity tests found no significant difference between the host and bacterial data sets. Of thirteen Shimodaira-Hasegawa tests, comparing the original Bayesian bacterial tree to bacterial trees with incongruent clades forced to match the host tree, 12 found no significant difference. A significant difference in topology was found only when the entire host tree was compared with the entire bacterial tree. For the bacterial data set, the treelengths of the most parsimonious host trees are only 1.8-2.4% longer than that of the most parsimonious bacterial trees. The high level of congruence between the topologies indicates that these Bacteroidetes are the primary endosymbionts of armored scale insects. To investigate the phylogenetic affinities of these endosymbionts, we aligned some of their 16S rDNA sequences with other known Bacteroidetes endosymbionts and with other similar sequences identified by BLAST searches. Although the endosymbionts of armored scales are only distantly related to the endosymbionts of the other sternorrhynchan insects, they are closely related to bacteria associated with eriococcid and margarodid scale insects, to cockroach and auchenorrynchan endosymbionts (Blattabacterium and Sulcia), and to male-killing endosymbionts of ladybird beetles. We propose the name "Candidatus Uzinura diaspidicola" for the primary endosymbionts of armored scale insects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-280
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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