Infections with Wolbachia and Spiroplasma in the Scathophagidae and other Muscoidea

Infect Genet Evol. 2012 Mar;12(2):315-23. doi: 10.1016/j.meegid.2011.11.012. Epub 2011 Dec 8.


The microbes Wolbachia and Spiroplasma are common reproductive parasites of arthropods and may strongly influence reproduction of infected hosts and also impact on reproductive isolation. Such infections could hence influence results of many studies assessing reproductive behaviour and fitness of possible hosts, as well as reproductive isolation. Previous work indicates that infections with the microbes Wolbachia and Spiroplasma are common in the Drosophilidae. However, extensive and targeted surveys of other Dipteran families are lacking. Here we survey the yellow dung fly Scathophaga stercoraria and a range of other species from the Muscoidea (families Scathophagidae, Anthomyiidae, Fanniidae and Muscidae) collected in the field or obtained from museum collections for infection with the widespread reproductive parasites Wolbachia and Spiroplasma. Both have been shown to be heritable symbionts and affect reproduction in other Diptera. S. stercoraria is a very important model for the study of sexual selection, and in particular of postcopulatory processes, as it has played a major role in the history of research on sperm competition and cryptic female choice. Infections with Wolbachia were found to be widespread across the Muscoidea, whereas infections with Spiroplasma were rarer. We discuss the consequences of these findings and directions for future research on the impact of reproductive parasites on host reproduction in the Scathophagidae.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Diptera / microbiology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Spiroplasma / classification
  • Spiroplasma / genetics*
  • Wolbachia / classification
  • Wolbachia / genetics*


  • DNA, Bacterial

Associated data

  • GENBANK/JN601156
  • GENBANK/JN601157
  • GENBANK/JN601158
  • GENBANK/JN601159
  • GENBANK/JN601160
  • GENBANK/JN601161
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  • GENBANK/JN601180
  • GENBANK/JN601181
  • GENBANK/JN601182
  • GENBANK/JN601183
  • GENBANK/JN601184
  • GENBANK/JN601185
  • GENBANK/JN601186
  • GENBANK/JN601187