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Chironomids (Diptera: Chironomidae) are the most widely distributed and often the most abundant insect in freshwater. They undergo a complete metamorphosis of four life stages, of which the egg, larva, and pupae are aquatic and the adult is terrestrial. Chironomid egg masses were found to be natural reservoirs of Vibrio cholerae and Aeromonas species. To expand the knowledge of the endogenous bacterial community associated with chironomid egg masses, denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and clone analysis of 16S rRNA gene libraries were used in this study. Bacterial community composition associated with chironomid egg masses was found to be stable among different sampling periods. Cloned libraries of egg masses revealed that about 40% of the clones were related to bacteria known to degrade various toxicants. These findings were further supported when bacterial species that showed resistance to different toxic metals were isolated from egg masses and larval samples. Chironomids are found under a wide range of water conditions and are able to survive pollutants. However, little is known about their protective mechanisms under these conditions. Chironomid egg masses are inhabited by a stable endogenous bacterial community, which may potentially play a role in protecting chironomids from toxicants in polluted environments. Further study is needed to support this hypothesis.
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