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Obligate association with gut bacterial symbiont in Japanese populations of the southern green stinkbug Nezara viridula (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae)

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The southern green stinkbug Nezara viridula (Linnaeus) has a number of sac-like outgrowths, called crypts, in a posterior section of the midgut, wherein a specific bacterial symbiont is harbored. In previous studies on N. viridula from Hawaiian populations, experimental elimination of the symbiont caused few fitness defects in the host insect. Here we report that N. viridula from Japanese populations consistently harbors the same gammaproteobacterial gut symbiont, but, in contrast with previous work, experimental sterilization of the symbiont resulted in severe nymphal mortality, indicating an obligate host–symbiont relationship. Considering worldwide host–symbiont association and these experimental data, we suggest that N. viridula is generally and obligatorily associated with the gut symbiont, but that the effect of the symbiont on host biology may be different among geographic populations. Possible environmental factors that may affect the host–symbiont relationship are discussed.

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We thank M. Baba and Y. G. Baba for insect samples. This study was supported by the Program for Promotion of Basic and Applied Research for Innovations in Bio-oriented Industry (BRAIN), the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), and The Council for Grants of the President of the Russian Federation and State Support of the Leading Scientific Schools (project # 3332.2010.4).

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Correspondence to Yoshitomo Kikuchi.

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Tada, A., Kikuchi, Y., Hosokawa, T. et al. Obligate association with gut bacterial symbiont in Japanese populations of the southern green stinkbug Nezara viridula (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae). Appl Entomol Zool 46, 483–488 (2011).

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