Bacteria that cause cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) are among the most common maternally transmitted parasites of insects. In CI, uninfected females produce few or no offspring when they mate with infected males and, as a result, are often at a reproductive disadvantage relative to infected females. Two different bacteria are known to cause CI, Wolbachia and Cardinium. CI Cardinium was discovered more recently and has been little studied. Here, factors that could influence the reduction in reproductive output in a CI cross, or CI "strength," were explored in the parasitic wasp Encarsia pergandiella. Cardinium in this wasp exhibits variable CI strength. Experiments tested the effect of male age, male size, male host species, Cardinium density, and male development time on CI strength. We found a striking effect of male development time, with males that took longer to develop exhibiting stronger CI when mated to uninfected females. Male age had little effect; although in one experiment, the oldest males exhibited stronger CI. Male size, host species, and bacterial density had no effect on the strength of CI. Identifying the factors that control CI are crucial for understanding the dynamics of infection, as well as the success of strategies that aim to use CI microbes to control insect pests and disease vectors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Soil Science