Experimental and Applied Acarology

, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 1-16

First online:

Wolbachia-induced cytoplasmic incompatibility in Japanese populations of Tetranychus urticae (Acari: Tetranychidae)

  • Tetsuo GotohAffiliated withFaculty of Agriculture, Ibaraki University Email author 
  • , Jun SugasawaAffiliated withFaculty of Agriculture, Ibaraki University
  • , Hiroaki NodaAffiliated withNational Institute of Agrobiological Sciences
  • , Yasuki KitashimaAffiliated withFaculty of Agriculture, Ibaraki University

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Intracellular bacteria of the genus Wolbachia (alpha Proteobacteria) induce cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) in many arthropod species, including spider mites, but not all Wolbachia cause CI. In spider mites CI becomes apparent by a reduced egg hatchability and a lower daughter:son ratio: CI in haplodiploid organisms in general was expected to produce all-male offspring or a male-biased sex ratio without any death of eggs. In a previous study of Japanese populations of Tetranychus urticae, two out of three green-form populations tested were infected with non-CI Wolbachia strains, whereas none of six red-form populations harbored Wolbachia. As the survey of Wolbachia infection in T. urticae is still fragmentary in Japan, we checked Wolbachia infection in thirty green-form populations and 29 red-form populations collected from a wide range of Japanese islands. For Wolbachia-infected populations, we tested the effects of Wolbachia on the reproductive traits and determined the phylogenetic relationships of the different strains of Wolbachia. All but one green-form populations were infected with Wolbachia and all strains belonged to the subgroup Ori when the wsp gene was used to determine the phylogenetic relationships of different strains of Wolbachia. Six out of 29 red-form populations harbored Wolbachia and the infected strains belonged to the subgroups Ori and Bugs. Twenty-four of 29 infected green-form populations and five of six infected red-form populations induced CI among the hosts. Thus, CI-Wolbachia strains are widespread in Japan, and no geographical trend was observed in the CI-Wolbachia. Although three red-form populations harbored other intracellular bacteria Cardinium, they did not affect host reproduction.


Tetranychus urticae Acari Cytoplasmic incompatibility Wolbachia Spider mite