Filarial susceptibility and effects of Wolbachia in Aedes pseudoscutellaris mosquitoes

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The mosquito Aedes pseudoscutellaris (Theobald), a member of the Aedes (Stegomyia) scutellaris complex (Diptera: Culicidae), is an important vector of subperiodic Wuchereria bancrofti (Cobbold) (Spirurida: Onchocercidae), causing human lymphatic filariasis, on South Pacific islands. Maternal inheritance of filarial susceptibility in the complex has previously been asserted, and larval tetracycline treatment reduced susceptibility; the maternally inherited Wolbachia in these mosquitoes were suggested to be responsible. To investigate the relationship of these two factors, we eliminated Wolbachia from a strain of Ae. pseudoscutellaris by tetracycline treatment, and tested filarial susceptibility of the adult female mosquitoes using Brugia pahangi (Edeson & Buckley). Filarial susceptibility was not significantly different in Wolbachia-free and infected lines of Ae. pseudoscutellaris, suggesting that the Wolbachia in these mosquitoes do not influence vector competence. Crosses between Wolbachia-infected males and uninfected females of Ae. pseudoscutellaris showed cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI), i.e. no eggs hatched, unaffected by larval crowding or restricted nutrient availability, whereas these factors are known to affect CI in Drosophila simulans. Reciprocal crosses between Ae. pseudoscutellaris and Ae. katherinensis Woodhill produced no progeny, even when both parents were Wolbachia-free, suggesting that nuclear factors are responsible for this interspecific sterility.

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