Phylosymbiosis impacts adaptive traits in nasonia wasps

Edward J. van Opstal, Seth R. Bordenstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Phylosymbiosis is defined as microbial community relationships that recapitulate the phylogeny of hosts. As evidence for phylosymbiosis rapidly accumulates in different vertebrate and invertebrate holobionts, a central question is what evolutionary forces cause this pattern. We use intra- and interspecific gut microbiota transplants to test for evidence of selective pressures that contribute to phylosymbiosis. We leverage three closely related species of the parasitoid wasp model Nasonia that recently diverged between 0.4 and 1 million years ago: N. vitripennis, N. giraulti, and N. longicornis. Upon exposure of germfree larvae to heat-inactivated microbiota from intra- or interspecific larvae, we measure larval growth, pupation rate, and adult reproductive capacity. We report three key findings: (i) larval growth significantly slows when hosts receive an interspecific versus intraspecific gut microbiota, (ii) marked decreases in pupation and resulting adult survival occur from interspecific gut microbiota exposure, and (iii) adult reproductive capacities including male fertility and longevity are unaffected by early life exposure to an interspecific microbiota. Overall, these findings reveal developmental and survival costs to Nasonia upon larval exposures to interspecific microbiota and provide evidence that selective pressures on phenotypes produced by host-microbiota interactions may underpin phylosymbiosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00887-19
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Virology


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