Inherited fungal and bacterial endosymbionts of a parasitic wasp and its cockroach host

Cara M. Gibson, Martha S. Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Bacterial endosymbionts of insects are increasingly being recognized as common, diverse, and integral to the biology of their hosts. Inherited fungal symbionts have been largely overlooked, however, even though insect guts appear to be a key habitat for an incredible array of fungal diversity. Like bacteria, fungal symbionts also likely play important roles in the ecology and evolution of their insect associates. The objective of this study was to lay the foundations for understanding the roles of the vertically transmitted fungal and bacterial associates of both the brownbanded cockroach, Supella longipalpa, and its parasitic wasp, Comperia merceti. We used culture-dependent and culture-independent molecular methods and phylogenetic analyses in order to identify the symbionts. Two fungal associates of brownbanded cockroaches were found. To our knowledge, this is the first record of vertically transmitted fungal symbionts in the order Blattaria. The wasp was found to house a close relative of one of the cockroach fungi but no bacterial symbionts. Finally, the brownbanded cockroaches also harbored three lineages of bacterial symbionts: Blattabacterium and two lineages of Wolbachia, indicating the number of vertically transmitted symbionts in this insect may be as many as five.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)542-549
Number of pages8
JournalMicrobial ecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Soil Science


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