Until now, only two Wolbachia-mediated cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) types have been described in haplodiploid species, the first in Nasonia (Insect) and the second in Tetranychus (Acari). They both induce a male-biased sex ratio in the incompatible cross. In Nasonia, CI does not reduce fertility since incompatible eggs develop as haploid males, whereas in Tetranychus CI leads to a partial mortality of incompatible eggs, thus reducing the fertility of females. Here, we study Wolbachia infection in a Drosophila parasitoid, Leptopilina heterotoma (Hymenoptera: Figitidae). A survey of Wolbachia infection shows that all natural populations tested are totally infected. Crosses between infected males and cured females show complete incompatibility: almost no females are produced. Moreover, incompatible eggs die early during their development, unlike Nasonia. This early death allows the parasitized Drosophila larva to achieve its development and to emerge. Thus, uninfected females crossed with infected males have reduced offspring production consisting only of males. Evidence of this CI type in insects demonstrates that the difference in CI types of Nasonia and Tetranychus is not due to specific factors of insects or acari. Using theoretical models, we compare the invasion processes of different strategies of Wolbachia: CI in diploid species, the two CI types in haplodiploid species, and parthenogenesis (the classical effect in haplodiploid species). Models show that CI in haplodiploid species is less efficient than in diploid ones. However, the Leptopilina type is advantageous compared to the Nasonia type. Parthenogenesis may be more or less advantageous, depending on the infection cost and on the proportion of fertilized eggs. Finally, we can propose different processes of Wolbachia strategy evolution in haplodiploid species from Nasonia CI type to Leptopilina CI type or parthenogenesis.
Corresponding Editor: W. T. Starmer