Insectes Sociaux

, Volume 53, Issue 3, pp 269–273

Wolbachia in the invasive European paper wasp Polistes dominulus


    • Department of BiologyUniversity of Rochester
  • A. E. Liebert
    • Department of BiologyTufts University
  • P. T. Starks
    • Department of BiologyTufts University
  • L. Dapporto
    • Museo di Storia Naturale dell’Università di Pisa
  • J. Jaenike
    • Department of BiologyUniversity of Rochester
Research article

DOI: 10.1007/s00040-006-0868-7

Cite this article as:
Stahlhut, J.K., Liebert, A.E., Starks, P.T. et al. Insect. Soc. (2006) 53: 269. doi:10.1007/s00040-006-0868-7


The European paper wasp Polistes dominulus has been expanding its North American range since its introduction in the 1970s. We screened P. dominulus from Italy and the northeastern U.S. for the presence of the intracellular reproductive symbiont Wolbachia. Infection rates among females varied from 16% to 87% among U.S. sites and from 33% to 71% in Italy. We also found infected haploid and diploid males, indicating that this is not a male-killing Wolbachia infection. Our data show that infected individuals from New York, Massachusetts, and Italy carry the same Wolbachia strain, and that some mtDNA haplotypes include both infected and uninfected individuals. We discuss possible implications of Wolbachia infection in this invasive social hymenopteran.


Polistes dominulusWolbachiainfection prevalenceinvasion biology

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel 2006