Eur. J. Entomol. 114: 312-316, 2017 | DOI: 10.14411/eje.2017.038

Metagenomic survey of bacteria associated with the invasive ladybird Harmonia axyridis (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae)

Krzysztof DUDEK1, Kinga HUMIŃSKA2,3, Jacek WOJCIECHOWICZ2, Piotr TRYJANOWSKI1
1 Department of Zoology, Institute of Zoology, Poznań University of Life Sciences, Wojska Polskiego 71 C, 60-625 Poznań, Poland; e-mails: dudeekk@gmail.com, piotr.tryjanowski@gmail.com
2 DNA Research Center, Rubież 46, 61-612 Poznań, Poland; e-mails: k.huminska@cbdna.pl, j.wojciechowicz@cbdna.pl
3 Laboratory of High Throughput Technologies, Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Faculty of Biology, University of Adam Mickiewicz, Umultowska 89, 61-614 Poznan, Poland

The Asian ladybird Harmonia axyridis is an invasive insect in Europe and the Americas and is a great threat to the environment in invaded areas. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that non native species are resistant to many groups of parasites that attack native insects. However, very little is known about the complex microbial community associated with this insect. This study based on sequencing 16S rRNA genes in extracted metagenomic DNA is the first research on the bacterial flora associated with H. axyridis. Lady beetles were collected during hibernation from wind turbines in Poland. A mean ± SD of 114 ± 35 species of bacteria were identified. The dominant phyla of bacteria recorded associated with H. axyridis were Actinobacteria, Proteobacteria, Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes. Representatives of these phyla are common in the environment, e.g. in the soil, and are often identified as the dominant bacteria associated with arthropods. We also identified animal pathogenic bacteria, such as Burkholderia, Rhodococcus, Chlamydiae and Anaplasmataceae spp. (Neorickettsia helminthoeca and Ehrlichia ovina). We also identified Wolbachia pipientis in a single beetle. This bacterium is a causative agent of reproductive alterations in arthropods. These results support the enemy release hypothesis in the case of this ladybird invasion. Pathogenic bacteria were recorded in only a few samples. Moreover, male-killing bacteria such as Spiroplasma spp., Wolbachia spp. and Rickettsia spp. were only recorded in single insects so they cannot be responsible for the observed alterations in the sex-ratio of the ladybird population studied.

Keywords: Coleoptera, Coccinellidae, Harmonia axyridis, microbiota, bacteria community, 16s RNA, insect symbionts

Received: April 25, 2017; Accepted: May 18, 2017; Published online: June 13, 2017

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