Wolbachia in Aedes koreicus: Rare Detections and Possible Implications

C. Damiani, A. Cappelli, F. Comandatore, F. Montarsi, A. Serrao, A. Michelutti, M. Bertola, M. V. Mancini, I. Ricci, C. Bandi and G. Favia,  Insects,  13. 2022.

The emerging distribution of new alien mosquito species was recently described in Europe. In addition to the invasion of Aedes albopictus, several studies have focused on monitoring and controlling other invasive Aedes species, as Aedes koreicus and Aedes japonicus. Considering the increasing development of insecticide resistance in Aedes mosquitoes, new control strategies, including the use of bacterial host symbionts, are proposed. However, little is known about the bacterial communities associated with these species, thus the identification of possible candidates for Symbiotic Control is currently limited. The characterization of the natural microbiota of field-collected Ae. koreicus mosquitoes from North-East Italy through PCR screening, identified native infections of Wolbachia in this species that is also largely colonized by Asaia bacteria. Since Asaia and Wolbachia are proposed as novel tools for Symbiotic Control, our study supports their use for innovative control strategies against new invasive species. Although the presence of Asaia was previously characterized in Ae. koreicus, our study characterized this Wolbachia strain, also inferring its phylogenetic position. The co-presence of Wolbachia and Asaia may provide additional information about microbial competition in mosquito, and to select suitable phenotypes for the suppression of pathogen transmission and for the manipulation of host reproduction in Ae. koreicus.

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