Wolbachia endosymbiont infection in two Indian butterflies and female-biased sex ratio in the Red Pierrot, Talicada nyseus
The maternally inherited obligate bacteria Wolbachia is known to infect various lepidopteran insects. However, so far only a few butterfly species harbouring this bacterium have been thoroughly studied. The current study aims to identify the infection status of these bacteria in some of the commonly found butterfly species in India. A total of nine butterfly species belonging to four different families were screened using PCR with Wolbachia-specific wsp and ftsZ primers. The presence of the Wolbachia super group ‘B’ in the butterflies Red Pierrot, Talicada nyseus (Guerin) (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) and Blue Mormon, Papilio polymnestor Cramer (Papilionidae), is documented for the first time in India. The study also gives an account on the lifetime fecundity and female-biased sex ratio in T. nyseus, suggesting a putative role for Wolbachia in the observed female-biased sex ratio distortion.
KeywordsPapilio polymnestor PCR sex ratio Talicada nyseus Wolbachia
The authors thank Mr Millo Tago IFS, Curator, Bannerghatta Biological Park, Mr Venkatachalapati, MSc, Scientist, Butterfly Park, Bannerghatta Biological Park, Bangalore, and Prof Atef Sayed Abdel-Razek, Department of Pest and Plant Protection, National Research Centre, Cairo, for their useful suggestions and constant support during the study. The authors are also thankful to the Department of Science and Technology, India, for financial assistant and Bangalore University for providing necessary infrastructure and facilities.
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