, Volume 99, Issue 3, pp 711-720

The tsetse fly Glossina fuscipes fuscipes (Diptera: Glossina) harbours a surprising diversity of bacteria other than symbionts

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Abstract

Three different bacterial species are regularly described from tsetse flies. However, no broad screens have been performed to investigate the existence of other bacteria in this medically and agriculturally important vector insect. Utilising both culture dependent and independent methods we show that Kenyan populations of Glossina fuscipes fuscipes harbour a surprising diversity of bacteria. Bacteria were isolated from 72% of flies with 23 different bacterial species identified. The Firmicutes phylum dominated with 16 species of which seven belong to the genus Bacillus. The tsetse fly primary symbiont, Wigglesworthia glossinidia, was identified by the culture independent pathway. However, neither the secondary symbiont Sodalis nor Wolbachia was detected with either of the methods used. Two other bacterial species were identified with the DNA based method, Bacillus subtilis and Serratia marcescens. Further studies are needed to determine how tsetse flies, which only ever feed on vertebrate blood, pick up bacteria and to investigate the possible impact of these bacteria on Glossina longevity and vector competence.