Wolbachia prevalence patterns: horizontal transmission, recombination, and multiple infections in chestnut gall wasp-parasitoid communities.
The Oriental chestnut gall wasp, Dryocosmus kuriphilus Yasumatsu (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae), is a global invasive pest that causes serious damage to almost all chestnut species belonging to the Castanea genus (Fagaceae). Dryocosmus zhuili Liu et Zhu is a recently described sibling species of D. kuriphilus, which induces galls on Castanea henryi (Skan) Rehd. et Wils. There are many indigenous parasitoid species in China which play an important role in the natural regulation of their population dynamics. Wolbachia is a maternally inherited α-proteobacterium widely found in arthropods. This study screened for the presence of Wolbachia in the two chestnut gall wasps and in six parasitoid species from 12 populations, to investigate the prevalence patterns of Wolbachia in the chestnut gall wasp-parasitoid communities. We found that D. zhuili and four parasitoid species were infected with Wolbachia; among them, all individuals of the two populations of Megastigmus sp. had multiple Wolbachia infections. By using multilocus sequence types to characterize bacterial strains, three new sequence types were identified. The Wolbachia strains infecting D. zhuili (ST-507), Torymus sinensis Kamijo (ST-508), and Sycophila variegata (Curtis) (ST-508) belonged to supergroup A, whereas the Wolbachia strain infecting Megastigmus nipponicus Kamijo (ST-503) belonged to supergroup B. Our results also suggested that horizontal transmission of Wolbachia occurs between chestnut gall wasps and their parasitoids. Moreover, multiple Wolbachia infections of Megastigmus sp. may be due to gene recombination and horizontal transmission.