Data from: Maintenance of a male-killing Wolbachia in Drosophila innubila by male-killing dependent and male-killing independent mechanisms
Unckless, Robert L.; Jaenike, John (2011), Data from: Maintenance of a male-killing Wolbachia in Drosophila innubila by male-killing dependent and male-killing independent mechanisms, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.pb5bb65m
Many maternally inherited endosymbionts manipulate their host’s reproduction in various ways to enhance their own fitness. One such mechanism is male-killing, in which sons of infected mothers are killed by the endosymbiont during development. Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain the advantages of male-killing, including resource reallocation from sons to daughters of infected females, avoidance of inbreeding by infected females, and, if transmission is not purely maternal, the facilitation of horizontal transmission to uninfected females. We tested these hypotheses in Drosophila innubila, a mycophagous species infected with male-killing Wolbachia. There was no evidence of horizontal transmission in the wild and no evidence Wolbachia reduced levels of inbreeding. Resource reallocation does appear to be operative, as Wolbachia-infected females are slightly larger, on average, than uninfected females, although the selective advantage of larger size is insufficient to account for the frequency of infection in natural populations. Wolbachia-infected females from the wild – though not those from the lab – were more fecund than uninfected females. Experimental studies revealed that Wolbachia can boost the fecundity of nutrient-deprived flies and reduce the adverse effect of RNA virus infection. Thus, this male-killing endosymbiont can provide direct, male-killing-independent fitness benefits to infected female hosts in addition to possible benefits mediated via male-killing.
Southwest Research Station Arizona