Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Partner fidelity and environmental filtering preserve stage-specific turtle ant gut symbioses for over 40 million years

Citation

Hu, Yi et al. (2022), Partner fidelity and environmental filtering preserve stage-specific turtle ant gut symbioses for over 40 million years, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.kwh70rz5d

Abstract

Sustaining beneficial gut symbioses presents a major challenge for animals, Including holometabolous insects. Social insects may meet such challenges through behavioral symbiont transfer and transgenerational inheritance through colony founders. We address such potential through colony-wide explorations across 13 eusocial, holometabolous ant species in the genus Cephalotes. Through amplicon sequencing and qPCR, we show that previously characterized worker microbiomes are largely conserved across adult castes, that adult microbiomes exhibit strong trends of phylosymbiosis, and that Cephalotes cospeciate with their most abundant adult symbionts. We find, also, that winged queens harbor worker-like microbiomes prior to colony founding, suggesting that vertical inheritance promotes ancient partner fidelity. While some adult-abundant symbionts colonize guts of larvae, microbiomes from this stage are by environmental bacteria from the Enterobacteriales, Lactobacillales, and Actinobacteria. Re-acquisition of such bacteria, each generation, for >40 million years suggests conserved environmental filtering and, hence, a second mechanism behind distinct symbioses divided by metamorphosis.

Usage Notes

1. Ant Photos

Photos of all ant specimens included in this study

2. Symbiotic Phylogenetics

Method and figures for maximum likelihood phylogenetic analysis of the Actinobacteria, Lactobacillales, ambiguously classifying Pseudomonadales OTU046 and Sphingobacteriales OTU116, and other sequences with high abundance.

3. Supplementary Data

A compressed file containing 11 excel documents.

 (1) Data S1: Amplification success of 16S rRNA and COI genes for all DNA samples surveyed in this study.

(2) Data S2: Larval size (and size normalization) measures across the Cephalotes genus, and adult age estimates for C. varians via cuticular pigmentation measures.

(3) Data S3: Normalized 16S rRNA gene copy number estimates in individual ant samples surveyed in the study.

(4) Data 4: Unique sequence table computed using amplicon 16S rRNA sequence data across 353 sequence libraries from 13 Cephalotes ant species. 

(5) Data S5: 97% OTU table computed using 16S rRNA amplicon sequence data across 13 Cephalotes ant species.

(6) Data S6: 98% OTU table computed using 16S rRNA amplicon sequence data across 13 Cephalotes ant species.

(7) Data S7: 99% OTU table computed using 16S rRNA amplicon sequence data across 13 Cephalotes ant species.

(8) Data S8: Oligotype table computed using 16S rRNA amplicon sequence data across 13 Cephalotes ant species.

(9) Data S9: Top-ranked 97% OTUs by caste and stage across all Cephalotes ants.

(10)Data S10: Identification of cephalotine-specialized lineages of bacterial symbionts – BLASTn results and summaries of phylogenetic inference.

(11)Data S11: Shared 97% OTUs among workers and larvae.

Funding

National Science Foundation, Award: 1050360

National Natural Science Foundation of China, Award: 32070401

National Science Foundation, Award: 1442144

National Science Foundation, Award: 1110515

National Science Foundation, Award: 1442256