Wolbachia pipientis is an endosymbiotic bacterium common to arthropods and filarial nematodes. This study presents the first survey and characterization of Wolbachia pipientis that infect spiders. All spiders were collected from Queensland, Australia during 2002–2003 and screened for Wolbachia infection using PCR approaches. The Wolbachia strains present in the spiders are diverse, paraphyletic, and for the most part closely related to strains that infect insects. We have also identified several spider Wolbachia strains that form a lineage outside the currently recognized six main Wolbachia supergroups (A–F). Incongruence between spider and Wolbachia phylogenies indicates a history of horizontal transmission of the bacterium in these host taxa. Like other arthropods, spiders are capable of harboring multiple Wolbachia strains.
KeywordsHorizontal Transmission Wolbachia Infection Wolbachia Strain Filarial Nematode Endosymbiotic Bacterium
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