Wolbachia-induced cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) can have two consequences in haplodiploid insects: fertilized eggs either die (female mortality, FM) or they develop into haploid males (male development, MD). Origin of this diversity remains poorly understood, but current hypotheses invoke variation in damage suffered by paternal chromosomes in incompatible eggs, thus intermediate CI types should be expected. Here, we show the existence of such a particular CI type. In the parasitoid wasp Leptopilina heterotoma, we compared CI effects in crosses involving lines derived from a single inbred line with various Wolbachia infection statuses (natural tri-infection, mono-infection, or no infection). Tri-infected males induce a FM CI type when crossed with either uninfected or mono-infected females. Crossing mono-infected males with uninfected females results in almost complete CI with both reduced offspring production, indicating partial mortality of fertilized eggs, and increased number of sons, showing haploid male development of others. Mono-infected males thus induce an intermediate CI type when mated with uninfected females. The first evidence of this expected particular CI type demonstrates that no discontinuity separates MD and FM CI types, which appear to be end points of a phenotypic continuum. Second, different CI types can occur within a given species and even within offspring of a single pair. Third, phenotypic expression of the particular CI type induced by a given Wolbachia variant depends on other bacterial variants that co-infect the same tissues. These results support the idea that haplodiploids should be helpful in clarifying evolutionary pathways of insect-Wolbachia associations.
Corresponding Editor: K. Ross