Gut bacteria are known to play important and often essential roles in the biology of insects. Theoretically, they can be genetically manipulated, then reintroduced into insects to negatively modify specific biological features. The weevil superfamily Curculionoidea is one of the most species-rich and successful animal groups on earth, but currently the overall knowledge of the bacterial communities in weevils and their associations with hosts is still limited. In this study, we isolated and characterized the bacteria in the midgut of an invasive weevil, Lissorhoptrus oryzophilus Kuschel, by culturing methods. Female adults of this weevil were collected from four different geographic regions of the United States and mainland China. Sequencing of the bacterial 16S rRNA amplicons demonstrated that the major culturable gut bacteria of rice water weevil are γ-proteobacteria and Bacilli. The gut bacterial composition differs among regions, with many of the bacteria isolated from only a single region while several were detected from more than one region. Overall, the diversity of gut bacteria in rice water weevil is relatively low. The possible origins of certain bacteria are discussed in relation to the weevil, rice plant, and bacteria.
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Vol. 42 • No. 5