Effects, interactions, and localization of Rickettsia and Wolbachia in the house fly parasitoid, Spalangia endius

Amit Semiatizki, Benjamin Weiss, Shir Bagim, Sarit Rohkin-Shalom, Martin Kaltenpoth, Elad Chiel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many insect species harbor facultative microbial symbionts that affect their biology in diverse ways. Here, we studied the effects, interactions, and localization of two bacterial symbionts—Wolbachia and Rickettsia—in the parasitoid Spalangia endius. We crossed between four S. endius colonies—Wolbachia only (W), Rickettsia only (R), both (WR), and none (aposymbiotic, APS) (16 possible crosses) and found that Wolbachia induces incomplete cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI), both when the males are W or WR. Rickettsia did not cause reproductive manipulations and did not rescue the Wolbachia-induced CI. However, when R females were crossed with W or WR males, significantly less offspring were produced compared with that of control crosses. In non-CI crosses, the presence of Wolbachia in males caused a significant reduction in offspring numbers. Females’ developmental time was significantly prolonged in the R colony, with adults starting to emerge one day later than the other colonies. Other fitness parameters did not differ significantly between the colonies. Using fluorescence in situ hybridization microscopy in females, we found that Wolbachia is localized alongside Rickettsia inside oocytes, follicle cells, and nurse cells in the ovaries. However, Rickettsia is distributed also in muscle cells all over the body, in ganglia, and even in the brain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)718-728
Number of pages11
JournalMicrobial Ecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Cytoplasmic incompatibility
  • Fluorescence in situ hybridization
  • Hymenoptera
  • Microbial symbionts
  • Pteromalidae
  • Reproductive manipulations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Soil Science
  • Ecology


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