Lack of evidence for western flower thrips biotypes base don intra and inter-strain variation in gut bacteria

E.J. de Vries, G. Jacobs, W.J. de Kogel, M. van der Hoek, J.A.J. Breeuwer

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    Western flower thrips is a polyphagous insect, which during the last 30 years has become a world wide pest. It was found earlier that these thrips are associated with a type of Erwinia species gut bacteria. In this study we examine the variation of bacteria within and between thrips individuals and try to find evidence for biotypes in western flower thrips regarding the type of gut bacteria. The existence of biotypes in this thrips species has been suggested by different authors. For example, thrips populations have been found that differ in resistance against pesticides and in their ability to transmit plant viruses. With biotypes we mean groups of individuals (strains, populations, lines) of a species which differ in one or more traits with other groups of that species. The gut bacteria of thrips are acquired by young thrips larvae via the host plant and have a beneficial effect on thrips development and oviposition. We studied thrips strains from different countries and host plants, and the isofemale lines that were created from them, on bean plant leaves. All thrips lines that we studied contained Erwinia species gut bacteria. Morphological and biochemical characteristics of gut bacteria from the thrips isofemale lines were similar to the Erwinia type strain from the reference, a thrips strain cultured on chrysanthemum in Amsterdam (TAC 93.XII.8). Per isofemale line we studied five thrips individuals and per thrips we studied four bacterial colonies, with RAPD markers. The genetic variation between bacteria isolated from thrips was as large among isofemale lines as within isofemale lines. No evidence for thrips biotypes was found. Bacteria within one thrips individual show a stronger degree of similarity than bacteria from different thrips individuals within a single rearing. This is probably due to a bottleneck caused by the limited number of successful infections of bacteria into the gut of the thrips
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationSymbiosis of thrips and gutbacteria, PhD thesis van E.J. de Vries
    Place of PublicationAmsterdam
    PublisherUniversiteit van Amsterdam, Faculty of Science
    Number of pages171
    ISBN (Print)9789076894850
    Publication statusPublished - 2010

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