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Data from: A metatranscriptomic analysis of diseased social wasps (Vespula vulgaris) for pathogens, with an experimental infection of larvae and nests

Citation

Quinn, Oliver et al. (2019), Data from: A metatranscriptomic analysis of diseased social wasps (Vespula vulgaris) for pathogens, with an experimental infection of larvae and nests, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m98pt3k

Abstract

Social wasps are a major pest in many countries around the world. Pathogens may influence wasp populations and could provide an option for population management via biological control. We investigated the pathology of nests of apparently healthy common wasps, Vespula vulgaris, with nests apparently suffering disease. First, next-generation sequencing and metatranscriptomic analysis were used to examine pathogen presence. The transcriptome of healthy and diseased V. vulgaris showed 27 known microbial phylotypes. Four of these were observed in diseased larvae alone (Aspergillus fumigatus, Moellerella wisconsensis, Moku virus, and the microsporidian Vavraia culicis). Kashmir Bee Virus (KBV) was found to be present in both healthy and diseased larvae. Moellerella wisconsensis is a human pathogen that was potentially misidentified in our wasps by the MEGAN analysis: it is more likely to be the related bacteria Hafnia alvei that is known to infect social insects. The closest identification to the putative pathogen identified as Vavraia culicis was likely to be another microsporidian Nosema vulgaris. PCR and subsequent Sanger sequencing using published or our own designed primers, confirmed the identity of Moellerella sp. (which may be Hafnia alvei), Aspergillus sp., KBV, Moku virus and Nosema. Secondly, we used an infection study by homogenising diseased wasp larvae and feeding them to entire nests of larvae in the laboratory. Three nests transinfected with diseased larvae all died within 19 days. No pathogen that we monitored, however, had a significantly higher prevalence in diseased than in healthy larvae. RT-qPCR analysis indicated that pathogen infections were significantly correlated, such as between KBV and Aspergillus sp. Social wasps clearly suffer from an array of pathogens, which may lead to the collapse of nests and larval death.

Usage Notes

Location

New Zealand
Canterbury
Lincoln