reproductive parasites are both extraordinarily widespread and diverse in their
effects on their invertebrate hosts. In addition to causing skewed population
sex ratios via male-killing or feminization, such bacteria can further cause
cytoplasmic incompatibility or parthenogenesis.
Previous surveys show that the
microbes Wolbachia and Spiroplasma are common in some dipteran
families, e.g. Drosophilidae or Scathophagidae, and are known to be heritable
symbionts and affect reproduction in the Diptera. In stark contrasr, information on Rickettsia infections and detailed
surveys targeting other Dipteran families are lacking. For instance, the
superfamily Empidoidea contains numerous species, which have been the targets
of intense research concerning reproductive traits involved in sexual
selection. However, little is known about endosymbiont infections in most of these species.
In this study, we survey more than 300 samples of approx. 250 species of flies belonging to the Dolichopodidae, Empididae and Hybotidae, for the presence of the endosymbionts Wolbachia,
Spiroplasma, and Rickettsia. 151
of the species (i.e. ca. 61%) screened here, including species from key genera
such as Dolichopus, Poecilobothrus or Empis, harboured one or more symbionts. Reproductive parasites are
thus also common in the Empidoidae, yet effects on hosts remain unclear.
Potential endosymbiont-host interactions in this group would hence be worthy of
Martin et al. 2013 Infections, genetics and evolution