Effect of Cardinium infection on the probing behavior of Bemisia tabaci (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) MED.
Facultative endosymbionts can affect the growth, physiology, and behavior of their arthropod hosts. There are several endosymbionts in the invasive whitefly Bemisia tabaci Mediterranean (MED, Q biotype) that influence host fitness by altering stylet probing behavior. We investigated the probing behavior of B. tabaci MED infected with the facultative endosymbiont Candidatus Cardinium hertigii (Cardinium (Sphingobacteriales: Flexibacteraceae)). We generated genetically similar Cardinium-infected (C*+) and uninfected (C-) clonal sublines and analyzed the probing behavior of newly emerged adult on cotton (Malvales: Malvaceae), Gossypium hirsutum L., using electropenetrography (EPG). The C- subline demonstrated a longer duration of E2 (2.81-fold) and more events of E2 (2.22-fold) than the C*+ subline, indicating a greater level of sustained ingestion of plant phloem. These findings provide insight into the fitness costs (fitness of a particular genotype is lower than the average fitness of the population) of the Cardinium-infected B. tabaci.