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Pervasive effects of Wolbachia on host temperature preference

Cite this dataset

Hague, Michael; Caldwell, Chelsey; Cooper, Brandon (2020). Pervasive effects of Wolbachia on host temperature preference [Dataset]. Dryad.


Heritable symbionts can modify a range of ecologically important host traits, including behavior. About half of all insect species are infected with maternally transmitted Wolbachia, a bacterial endosymbiont known to alter host reproduction, nutrient acquisition, and virus susceptibility. Here, we broadly test the hypothesis that Wolbachia modify host behavior by assessing the effects of eight different Wolbachia strains on the temperature preference of six Drosophila melanogaster-subgroup species. Four of the seven host genotypes infected with A-group Wolbachia strains (wRi in D. simulanswHa in D. simulanswSh in D. sechellia, and wTei in D. teissieri) prefer significantly cooler temperatures relative to uninfected genotypes. Contrastingly, when infected with divergent B-group wMau, D. mauritiana prefer a warmer temperature. For most strains, changes to host temperature preference do not alter Wolbachia titer. However, males infected with wSh and wTei experience an increase in titer when shifted to a cooler temperature for 24 hours, suggesting that Wolbachia-induced changes to host behavior may promote bacterial replication and influence Wolbachia transmission rates. Modifications to host temperature preference likely influence host thermoregulation, and understanding the fitness consequences of these effects is crucial for predicting evolutionary outcomes of host-symbiont interactions, including how Wolbachia spread to become common.


National Institute of General Medical Sciences, Award: R35GM124701