The endosymbiotic bacteria Wolbachia manipulate host reproduction by inducing a form of sterility known as cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI), promoting the invasion of infection into natural host populations. CI has received attention for use in applied strategies to control insect vectors of disease. Thus, to understand both naturally occurring Wolbachia invasions and evaluate potential applied strategies, it is important to understand Wolbachia interactions with its host, including impacts on fitness and the CI level. In this study, we examined for an effect of Wolbachia on survivorship, developmental time, sex ratio, longevity, fecundity, and egg hatch of Aedes polynesiensis Marks, which is the primary vector of Wuchereria bancrofti in the South Pacific. In this study, we have compared strains of A. polynesiensis that are naturally and artificially infected with Wolbachia and additional strains that are aposymbiotic (Wolbachia removed to generate an uninfected strain). Artificially infected strains were observed to have increased larval mortality and decreased adult longevity when compared with aposymbiotic strains. Naturally infected strains were observed to have decreased larval mortality, pupal mortality, increased adult longevity, and a larger adult size when compared with aposymbiotic strains. Artificially infected males that were 4 wk old were able to induce high rates of CI, similar to young males. We discuss the results in relation to the natural spread of Wolbachia and Wolbachia-based applied strategies to modify A. polynesiensis populations.
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Vol. 48 • No. 5