Invasion of one insect species, Adalia bipunctata, by two different male-killing bacteria

Hurst, GDDvdS, J. H. G.; Majerus, T. M. O.; Bertrand, D.; Zakharov, I. A.; Baungaard, J.; Volkl, W.; Stouthamer, R.; Majerus, M. E. N.,  Insect Molecular Biology,  8:133-139. 1999.

Male-killing bacteria, which are inherited through the female line and kill male progeny only, are known from five different orders of insect. Our knowledge of the incidence of these elements has stemmed from discovery of their phenotype in different species, Our estimate of the frequency with which insects have been invaded by these elements therefore depends on each observation of the male-killing phenotype within a species being associated with a single microorganism. We here record an example of a single insect species being infected with two taxonomically distinct male-killing bacteria. Western European populations of the two-spot ladybird, Adalia bipunctata, have previously been shown to bear a male-killing Rickettsia, However, we here show that the majority of the male-killing lines tested from Central and Eastern Europe do not bear this bacterium. Rather, 16S rDNA sequence analysis suggests male-killing is associated with st member of the genus Spiroplasma. We discuss this conclusion in relation to the evolutionary genetics of male-killing bacteria, and the evolution of male-killing behaviour in the eubacteria.