Wolbachia bacteria are obligate intracellular alpha-Proteobacteria of arthropods and nematodes. Although widespread among isopod crustaceans, they have seldom been found in non-isopod crustacean species. Here, we report Wolbachia infection in fourteen new crustacean species. Our results extend the range of Wolbachia infections in terrestrial isopods and amphipods (class Malacostraca). We report the occurrence of two different Wolbachia strains in two host species (a terrestrial isopod and an amphipod). Moreover, the discovery of Wolbachia in the goose barnacle Lepas anatifera (subclass Thecostraca) establishes Wolbachia infection in class Maxillopoda. The new bacterial strains are closely related to B-supergroup Wolbachia strains previously reported from crustacean hosts. Our results suggest that Wolbachia infection may be much more widespread in crustaceans than previously thought. The presence of related Wolbachia strains in highly divergent crustacean hosts suggests that Wolbachia endosymbionts can naturally adapt to a wide range of crustacean hosts. Given the ability of isopod Wolbachia strains to induce feminization of genetic males or cytoplasmic incompatibility, we speculate that manipulation of crustacean-borne Wolbachia bacteria might represent potential tools for controlling crustacean species of commercial interest and crustacean or insect disease vectors.
Keywords: Crustacea; Maxillopoda; Wolbachia; adaptation; distribution; endosymbiont; terrestrial isopod.