Wolbachia in the invasive European paper wasp Polistes dominulus
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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.
Keywords.Polistes dominulus Wolbachia infection prevalence invasion biology
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