, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 1-8

Distribution of Parthenogenesis-Inducing Symbionts in Ovaries and Eggs of Aphytis (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae)

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In parasitic Hymenoptera, severe sex ratio distortions are sometimes associated with the presence of symbiotic microorganisms. Symbiont-induced uniparental reproduction is found in several species of the genus Aphytis and is suspected in others. These intracellular bacteria (called Wolbachia) reside within the egg cytoplasm. In order to follow their vertical transmission, the distribution pattern of the symbionts in ovaries and eggs of two uniparental lines (A. lingnanensis and A. yanonensis) was studied by electron, confocal, and two-photon microscopy. The results obtained suggest that Wolbachia move from nurse cells to developing oocytes. In freshly laid eggs, the symbionts are concentrated in the posterior pole, away from the micropyle, and in later stages of embryogenesis they are found surrounding nuclei throughout the embryo.

Received: 20 May 1997 / Accepted: 25 June 1997