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Data from: Heat stress affects facultative symbiont-mediated protection from a parasitoid wasp

Cite this dataset

Heyworth, Eleanor R.; Ferrari, Julia (2017). Data from: Heat stress affects facultative symbiont-mediated protection from a parasitoid wasp [Dataset]. Dryad.


Many insects carry facultative bacterial symbionts, which provide benefits including resistance to natural enemies and abiotic stresses. Little is known about how these beneficial phenotypes are affected when biotic or abiotic threats occur simultaneously. The pea aphid (Acyrthosiphon pisum) can host several well-characterized symbiont species. The symbiont known as X-type can protect against both parasitoid wasps and heat stress. Here, we used three pea aphid genotypes that were naturally infected with X-type and the symbiont Spiroplasma sp. We compared aphids coinfected with these two symbionts with those cured from X-type and infected with only Spiroplasma to investigate the ability of X-type to confer benefits to the host when two threats are experienced simultaneously. Our aim is to explore how robust symbiont protection may be outside a benign laboratory environment. Aphids were subjected to heat shock either before or after attack by parasitoid wasps. Under a benign temperature regime, the aphids carrying X-type tended to be better protected from the parasitoid than those cured. When the aphids experienced a heat shock before being parasitized aphids carrying X-type were more susceptible than those cured. Regardless of infection with the symbiont, the aphids benefitted from being heat shocked after parasitization. The results demonstrate how resistance to parasitoid wasps can be strongly environment-dependent and that a beneficial phenotype conferred by a symbiont under controlled conditions in the laboratory does not necessarily equate to a consistently useful effect in natural populations.

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