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Predaceous Toxorhynchites mosquitoes require a living gut microbiota to develop


Coon, Kerri; Valzania, Luca; Brown, Mark R.; Strand, Michael R. (2019), Predaceous Toxorhynchites mosquitoes require a living gut microbiota to develop, Dryad, Dataset,


Most species of mosquitoes are detritivores that feed on decaying plant and animal materials in their aquatic environment. Studies of several detritivorous mosquito species indicate they host relatively low diversity communities of microbes that are acquired from the environment while feeding. Our recent results also indicate that detritivorous species require a living gut microbiota in order to grow beyond the first instar. Less well known is that some mosquitoes, including those belonging to the genus Toxorhynchites, are predators that feed on other species of mosquitoes and other nektonic prey. In this study, we asked whether predaceous Toxorhynchites amboinensis larvae still require living microbes in their gut in order to develop. Using the detritivorous mosquito Aedes aegypti as prey, we found that T. amboinensis larvae harbour bacterial communities that are highly similar to that of their prey. Functional assays showed that T. amboinensis first instars provided axenic (i.e. bacteria-free) prey failed to develop, while two bacterial species present in gnotobiotic (i.e. colonised by one or more known bacterial species) prey successfully colonised the T. amboinensis gut and rescued development. Axenic T. amboinensis larvae also displayed defects in growth consistent with previously identified roles for microbe-mediated gut hypoxia in nutrient acquisition and assimilation in A. aegypti. Collectively, these results support a conserved role for gut microbes in regulating development of mosquitoes with different feeding strategies.

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