Cytoplasmically inherited symbiotic Wolbachia bacteria are known to induce a diversity of phenotypes on their numerous arthropod hosts including cytoplasmic incompatibility, male-killing, thelytokous parthenogenesis, and feminization. In the wasp Asobara tabida (Braconidae), in which all individuals harbor three genotypic Wolbachia strains (wAtab1, wAtab2 and wAtab3), the presence of Wolbachia is required for insect oogenesis. To elucidate the phenotype of each Wolbachia strain on host reproduction, especially on oogenesis, we established lines of A. tabida harboring different combinations of these three bacterial strains. We found that wAtab3 is essential for wasp oogenesis, whereas the two other strains, wAtab1 and wAtab2, seem incapable to act on this function. Furthermore, interline crosses showed that strains wAtab1 and wAtab2 induce partial (about 78%) cytoplasmic incompatibility of the female mortality type. These results support the idea that bacterial genotype is a major factor determining the phenotype induced by Wolbachia on A. tabida hosts. We discuss the implications of these findings for current hypotheses regarding the evolutionary mechanisms by which females of A. tabida have become dependent on Wolbachia for oogenesis.
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Vol. 58 • No. 10