Drosophila-parasitoid communities as model systems for host-Wolbachia interactions

Adv Parasitol. 2009:70:299-331. doi: 10.1016/S0065-308X(09)70012-0.


Wolbachia bacteria are cytoplasmic endosymbionts that infect a wide range of arthropod and nematode hosts. They are transmitted from mother to offspring via the eggs (vertical transmission) and enhance their transmission to the next generation by manipulating the reproductive system of their hosts. These manipulations occur in many forms, such as the induction of cytoplasmic incompatibility, feminization, male killing and parthenogenesis induction. Wolbachia is estimated to occur in up to 66% of all insect species, but the greatest diversity of reproductive manipulations is found in the order of the Hymenoptera. Studies of Wolbachia in Drosophila-parasitoid communities have allowed for important insights into different aspects of Wolbachia biology. The extensive knowledge available on Drosophila parasitoids provides a solid base on which to test new hypotheses on host-Wolbachia interactions. The large range of Wolbachia phenotypes present in Drosophila parasitoids, combined with the recent acquisition of the bacteria from their Drosophilid hosts, make them an ideal model system to study the evolution and dynamics of Wolbachia infections, both in the laboratory as in the field. In this chapter, we aim to review the current knowledge on the associations between Wolbachia and Drosophila parasitoids, and identify open questions and specify new research directions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Drosophila / parasitology*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / parasitology
  • Female
  • Genetic Variation
  • Host-Parasite Interactions / physiology*
  • Male
  • Models, Biological*
  • Oogenesis / physiology
  • Phenotype
  • Phylogeny
  • Wasps / microbiology
  • Wasps / physiology*
  • Wolbachia / physiology*