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Insects, Volume 14, Issue 11 (November 2023) – 68 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Mormon crickets (Anabrus simplex) are omnivores for which prey availability might determine protein consumption. If Mormon crickets eat grasshoppers, we hypothesized that their needs for alternative protein sources would decline when grasshoppers were more numerous. In addition, because Mormon crickets with less dietary protein had less immunity, we hypothesized that greater grasshopper density would enhance Mormon cricket immunity. In a caged experiment, we found that protein consumption from alternative sources declined and immunocompetence increased with grasshopper availability. Plant nitrogen also declined with increasing insect density, reinforcing the importance of predation by Mormon crickets to meet their protein needs. Potentially influencing management decisions, Mormon crickets affect grasshopper populations, and grasshopper abundance might indicate Mormon cricket immunity. View this paper
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34 pages, 1624 KiB  
Article
Baetidae (Insecta: Ephemeroptera) of Aurès Mountains (Algeria): A New Species of the Baetis alpinus Species Group, with Notes on Baetis Laech, 1815 Biogeography within Maghreb
Insects 2023, 14(11), 899; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14110899 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1566
Abstract
A new species, Baetis (Baetis) dihyaesp. nov., belonging to the Baetis alpinus species group, is described and illustrated based on larval material collected in the Aurès Mountains (northeastern Algeria) in 2020–2021. This new species is closely related to three [...] Read more.
A new species, Baetis (Baetis) dihyaesp. nov., belonging to the Baetis alpinus species group, is described and illustrated based on larval material collected in the Aurès Mountains (northeastern Algeria) in 2020–2021. This new species is closely related to three European species, e.g., Baetis (B.) alpinus (Pictet, 1843); B. (B.) nubecularis Eaton, 1898; and B. (B.) pasquetorum Righetti & Thomas, 2002 by the combination of the following characteristics: (i) more than one short, stout bristle at the tip of segment II of the maxillary palp and (ii) a well-developed paracercus. However, the new species clearly differs from all congeners of the Baetis alpinus species group primarily by the (a) structure of mouthparts—with 14–18 long submarginal setae arranged in a single irregular row on the dorsal surface of the labrum; 2–6 short, stout bristles at the tip of segment II of the maxillary palp; and segment II of the labial palp without a considerably developed apico-internal lobe); (b) setation of abdominal terga, with a few triangular-shaped scales sparsely scattered near the posterior margin only; and (c) a well-developed paracercus, comprised of more than 50 segments. Primary data on the biology and distribution of this new species are provided, and molecular affinities are verified by the analysis of COI (barcode) sequences. Detailed notes on the distribution of mayfly species belonging to the Baetis alpinus species group common in Western Europe and the western part of North Africa are presented. The historical movement of Baetis representatives between Europe, North West Africa, and subsequently Algeria, with the land bridges ‘Strait of Gibraltar’ and ‘Strait of Sicily’ as colonization routes, is discussed in detail and identified in the present study as the Western Algeria colonization path and Eastern Algeria colonization path, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Insect Systematics, Phylogeny and Evolution)
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13 pages, 2921 KiB  
Article
Geographical Distribution and Multimethod Species Identification of Forensically Important Necrophagous Flies on Hainan Island
Insects 2023, 14(11), 898; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14110898 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 795
Abstract
Forensic entomology offers unique advantages for the minimum postmortem interval (PMImin) estimation of decomposed corpses in forensic investigations. Accurate species identification and up-to-date locality information are essential. Hainan Island has a tropical rainforest climate and a vast territory. In this study, the community [...] Read more.
Forensic entomology offers unique advantages for the minimum postmortem interval (PMImin) estimation of decomposed corpses in forensic investigations. Accurate species identification and up-to-date locality information are essential. Hainan Island has a tropical rainforest climate and a vast territory. In this study, the community structure of necrophagous flies on Hainan Island was investigated in detail according to geographical environment. The results showed that the dominant species included C. megacephala, S. peregrina, C. rufifacies, S. misera, H. ligurriens, S. sericea, S. cinerea, S. dux, C. pinguis, and M. domestica. Furthermore, C. rufifacies and C. villeneuvi were found only in the high-altitude areas of Wuzhi Mountain, while S. cinerea was distributed only in coastal areas; the latter is a representative species of Hainan Island and has not been reported before. Furthermore, a GenBank database of forensically important flies was established, whilst a high-resolution melt (HRM) curve analysis was applied to identify the common species of Hainan Island for the first time. This study enriches the database of forensically important flies in tropical rainforest regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Techniques in Forensic Entomology)
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17 pages, 10178 KiB  
Article
Novel Insights into the circRNA-Modulated Developmental Mechanism of Western Honey Bee Larval Guts
Insects 2023, 14(11), 897; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14110897 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 848
Abstract
Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are a class of novel non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) that play essential roles in the development and growth of vertebrates through multiple manners. However, the mechanism by which circRNAs modulate the honey bee gut development is currently poorly understood. Utilizing the [...] Read more.
Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are a class of novel non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) that play essential roles in the development and growth of vertebrates through multiple manners. However, the mechanism by which circRNAs modulate the honey bee gut development is currently poorly understood. Utilizing the transcriptome data we obtained earlier, the highly expressed circRNAs in the Apis mellifera worker 4-, 5-, and 6-day-old larval guts were analyzed, which was followed by an in-depth investigation of the expression pattern of circRNAs during the process of larval guts development and the potential regulatory roles of differentially expressed circRNAs (DEcircRNAs). In total, 1728 expressed circRNAs were detected in the A. mellifera larval guts. Among the most highly expressed 10 circRNAs, seven (novel_circ_000069, novel_circ_000027, novel_circ_000438, etc.) were shared by the 4-, 5-, and 6-day-old larval guts. In addition, 21 (46) up-regulated and 22 (27) down-regulated circRNAs were, respectively, screened in the Am4 vs. Am5 (Am5 vs. Am6) comparison groups. Additionally, nine DEcircRNAs, such as novel_circ_000340, novel_circ_000758 and novel_circ_001116, were shared by these two comparison groups. These DEcircRNAs were predicted to be transcribed from 14 and 29 parental genes; these were respectively annotated to 15 and 22 GO terms such as biological regulation and catalytic activity as well as 16 and 21 KEGG pathways such as dorsoventral axis formation and apoptosis. Moreover, a complicated competing endogenous RNA (ceRNA) network was observed; novel_circ_000838 in the Am4 vs. Am5 comparison group potentially targeted ame-miR-6000a-3p, further targeting 518 mRNAs engaged in several developmental signaling pathways (e.g., TGF-beta, hedgehog, and wnt signaling pathway) and immune pathways (e.g., phagosome, lysosome, and MAPK signaling pathway). The results demonstrated that the novel_circ_000838-ame-miR-6000a-3p axis may plays a critical regulatory part in the larval gut development and immunity. Furthermore, back-splicing sites of six randomly selected DEcircRNAs were amplified and verified by PCR; an RT-qPCR assay of these six DEcircRNAs confirmed the reliability of the used high-throughput sequencing data. Our findings provide a novel insight into the honey bee gut development and pave a way for illustration of the circRNA-modulated developmental mechanisms underlying the A. mellifera worker larval guts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Insect Molecular Biology and Genomics)
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16 pages, 13385 KiB  
Article
Occurrence and Population Density of the Endemic Species Cordulegaster buchholzi (Anisoptera: Cordulegastridae) on the Cyclades Islands in Greece
Insects 2023, 14(11), 896; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14110896 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 671
Abstract
Our research was focused on determining the geomorphological characteristics of streams, characteristics of sediment in streams, habitat, emergence sites and flight period. Larvae were recorded in 19 streams (altitude of 35–680 m a.s.l.), with an average minimum width of 44.2 cm, an average [...] Read more.
Our research was focused on determining the geomorphological characteristics of streams, characteristics of sediment in streams, habitat, emergence sites and flight period. Larvae were recorded in 19 streams (altitude of 35–680 m a.s.l.), with an average minimum width of 44.2 cm, an average maximum width of 352.9 cm, an average minimum depth of 9 cm and an average maximum depth (in pools) of 55 cm, with an average stream gradient of 12 grades (range 0.6–45 grades). In terms of grain size, the sediment in these biotopes can be characterized as sandy gravel, medium-grained gravel with an admixture of fine sand and an admixture of coarse-grained gravel prevails (with dominancy of fraction 2–5 mm with a representation of 47%). The larval density reached 0.1–62.2 larvae per 1 m2 of suitable sediment. Exuviae (100 exuviae found in total) occurred at an average of 66 cm horizontal distance from the shore and an average vertical height of 124 cm above the ground. The average total distance of larval movement was 190 cm. The emergence site was categorized as larvae-dominated tree trunks (57% of cases), rocks (51%) and overhanging rocks (11%). The flight period was recorded from 17th May to 15th July (literary record—to 15th August) with peak flight activity noted in the third quarter of June. Considering the size of the area—extent of occurrence, the population of C. buchholzi is strongly threatened; according to the IUCN categories it should be classified as endangered (EN). Full article
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15 pages, 2364 KiB  
Article
The Entomopathogenic Fungus Conidiobolus coronatus Has Similar Effects on the Cuticular Free Fatty Acid Profile of Sensitive and Resistant Insects
Insects 2023, 14(11), 895; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14110895 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 783
Abstract
The mechanisms underlying the recognition of a susceptible host by a fungus and the role of cuticular compounds (CCs) in this process remain unclear; however, accumulated data suggest that this is influenced to a great degree by cuticular lipids. Two insect species differing [...] Read more.
The mechanisms underlying the recognition of a susceptible host by a fungus and the role of cuticular compounds (CCs) in this process remain unclear; however, accumulated data suggest that this is influenced to a great degree by cuticular lipids. Two insect species differing in their sensitivity to fungal infection, viz. the highly sensitive Galleria mellonella Linnaeus (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) and the resistant Calliphora vicina Robineau-Desvoidy (Diptera: Calliphoridae), exhibited significant qualitative and quantitative changes in cuticular free fatty acid (FFA) profiles after exposure to Conidiobolus coronatus (Constantin) Batko (Entomopthorales). Despite being systematically distant, leading different lifestyles in different habitats, both insect species demonstrated similar changes in the same FFAs following exposure to the fungus (C12:0, C13:0, C14:0, C15:0, C16:1, C16:0, C18:1, C18:0), suggesting that these are involved in a contact-induced defense response. As it was not possible to distinguish the share of FFAs present in the conidia that were attached to the cuticle from the FFAs of the cuticle itself in the total number of extracted FFAs, further research is necessary. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Insect Behavior and Pathology)
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12 pages, 6069 KiB  
Article
Insights into the Diversity and Population Structure of Predominant Typhlocybinae Species Existing in Vineyards in Greece
Insects 2023, 14(11), 894; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14110894 - 19 Nov 2023
Viewed by 971
Abstract
Insects of the subfamily Typhlocybinae (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae) are pests of economically important agricultural and horticultural crops. They damage the plants directly or indirectly by transmitting plant pathogens, resulting in significant yield loss. Several leafhoppers of this subfamily use vines as [...] Read more.
Insects of the subfamily Typhlocybinae (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae) are pests of economically important agricultural and horticultural crops. They damage the plants directly or indirectly by transmitting plant pathogens, resulting in significant yield loss. Several leafhoppers of this subfamily use vines as hosts. Accurate and rapid identification is the key to their successful management. The aim of this study is to determine the Typhlocybinae species that exist in vineyards all over Greece and investigate the relationship between them. For this purpose, yellow sticky traps were placed, morphological and molecular data were collected, and phylogenetic models were analyzed. The mitochondrial marker Cytochrome Oxidase Subunit I (mtCOI) was applied for the DNA and phylogenetic analysis. The combination of morphological and molecular data resulted in identifying the existence of six different species all over Greece: Arboridia adanae, Asymmetrasca decedens, Hebata decipiens, Hebata vitis, Jacobiasca lybica and Zygina rhamni. Forty-eight different haplotypes were found to exist in the different regions of the country. Full article
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38 pages, 10795 KiB  
Article
The Morphological Transformation of the Thorax during the Eclosion of Drosophila melanogaster (Diptera: Drosophilidae)
Insects 2023, 14(11), 893; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14110893 - 18 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1005
Abstract
The model organism Drosophila melanogaster, as a species of Holometabola, undergoes a series of transformations during metamorphosis. To deeply understand its development, it is crucial to study its anatomy during the key developmental stages. We describe the anatomical systems of the thorax, [...] Read more.
The model organism Drosophila melanogaster, as a species of Holometabola, undergoes a series of transformations during metamorphosis. To deeply understand its development, it is crucial to study its anatomy during the key developmental stages. We describe the anatomical systems of the thorax, including the endoskeleton, musculature, nervous ganglion, and digestive system, from the late pupal stage to the adult stage, based on micro-CT and 3D visualizations. The development of the endoskeleton causes original and insertional changes in muscles. Several muscles change their shape during development in a non-uniform manner with respect to both absolute and relative size; some become longer and broader, while others shorten and become narrower. Muscular shape may vary during development. The number of muscular bundles also increases or decreases. Growing muscles are probably anchored by the tissues in the stroma. Some muscles and tendons are absent in the adult stage, possibly due to the hardened sclerites. Nearly all flight muscles are present by the third day of the pupal stage, which may be due to the presence of more myofibers with enough mitochondria to support flight power. There are sexual differences in the same developmental period. In contrast to the endodermal digestive system, the functions of most thoracic muscles change in the development from the larva to the adult in order to support more complex locomotion under the control of a more structured ventral nerve cord based on the serial homology proposed herein. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Insect Systematics, Phylogeny and Evolution)
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13 pages, 1577 KiB  
Review
Research Progress on the Species and Diversity of Ants and Their Three Tropisms
Insects 2023, 14(11), 892; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14110892 - 18 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1105
Abstract
Ants are one of the largest insect groups, with the most species and individuals in the world, and they have an important ecological function. Ants are not only an important part of the food chains but are also one of the main decomposers [...] Read more.
Ants are one of the largest insect groups, with the most species and individuals in the world, and they have an important ecological function. Ants are not only an important part of the food chains but are also one of the main decomposers on the Earth; they can also improve soil fertility, etc. However, some species of ants are harmful to human beings, which leads to people’s panic or worry about coming into contact with these insects during their daily home life or in their tourism or leisure activities. The presence of ants in indoor living facilities and in outdoor green spaces, parks, gardens, and tourist attractions seriously interferes with the leisure life and entertainment activities of all people (especially children). How can we control ants in these environments? Do we kill them by spraying insecticides, or do we adopt green prevention and control technology for the ecological management of ants? This topic is related to healthy life for the public and the protection of the ecological environment. In this paper, the species and diversity of ants are introduced, and research progress regarding ant tropism is introduced according to the three aspects of phototaxis, chromotaxis, and chemotaxis (i.e., “3-tropisms”). The research on repellent substances from plants and insects and the related ant attractants are also summarized, analyzed, and discussed, in order to help the research and application of green prevention and control technology for ant diversity protection and conservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Arthropod Biodiversity: Ecological and Functional Aspects)
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11 pages, 4506 KiB  
Article
Impact of Long-Term Floods on Spatial Dynamics of Myrmica scabrinodis, a Host Ant of a Highly Threatened Scarce Large Blue (Phengaris teleius)
Insects 2023, 14(11), 891; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14110891 - 18 Nov 2023
Viewed by 821
Abstract
Extensively used wet meadows with high species diversity are under threat in Europe by anthropogenic pressure. The increasing frequency of prolonged flooding is emerging as an additional threat to this fragile environment. In our study, we investigated how prolonged flooding affects the spatial [...] Read more.
Extensively used wet meadows with high species diversity are under threat in Europe by anthropogenic pressure. The increasing frequency of prolonged flooding is emerging as an additional threat to this fragile environment. In our study, we investigated how prolonged flooding affects the spatial distribution and temporal dynamics (through mortality and recolonization process) of the host ant species Myrmica scabrinodis, which is essential for the survival of the endangered Scarce large blue (Phengaris teleius). The study was conducted in the flood-prone Ljubljansko barje plain situated on the southern edge of the species’ global range. Prolonged flooding in the study area, possibly affecting the past and current distribution of the host ant M. scabrinodis, was recorded in 2010, 2013, and 2017. In 2020, we set 160 ant traps to estimate the distribution of host ants in a system of meadows covering the entire gradient of flood history. Results indicate that M. scabrinodis survives the flooding for up to three days, starting to disappear if flooding persists longer. After the flooding recedes, ants gradually recolonize empty habitats from the surrounding upland refugia. Our spatial analyses predict that the average recolonization speed was about 29 m per year and that in a year, ants compensate for the mortality effects of 1.8 days of flooding by recolonization in a year. These results show that flooding should be considered as an additional (in some areas, a major) threat to the endangered P. teleius through its deleterious effects on the host ant species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Insect Behavior and Pathology)
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11 pages, 4514 KiB  
Article
Earwig Releases Provide Accumulative Biological Control of the Woolly Apple Aphid over the Years
Insects 2023, 14(11), 890; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14110890 - 18 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1065
Abstract
Nature-based solutions, such as biological control, can strongly contribute to reducing the use of plant protection products. In our study, we assessed the effect of augmentative releases of the European earwig (Forficula auricularia) to control the woolly apple aphid (Eriosoma [...] Read more.
Nature-based solutions, such as biological control, can strongly contribute to reducing the use of plant protection products. In our study, we assessed the effect of augmentative releases of the European earwig (Forficula auricularia) to control the woolly apple aphid (Eriosoma lanigerum), a worldwide pest that causes serious damage to apple trees. The trials were carried out in two organic apple orchards located in Catalonia (NE Spain) from 2017 to 2020. Two treatments were compared: with vs. without earwig release. For the treatment, 30 earwigs per tree were released by means of a corrugated cardboard shelter. These releases were performed once per season and were repeated every year. We periodically assessed the length of the woolly apple aphid colonies, the number of colonies per tree, the percentage of aphids parasitized by Aphelinus mali, and the number of earwigs per shelter. Our results showed that earwig releases reduced the length of the colonies, but this effect was noticeable only for the second year onwards. Moreover, we found that those releases were compatible with A. mali. Overall, we demonstrated the positive impact of earwig releases on the woolly apple aphid control and the importance of considering time on augmentative biological control strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Control in Temperate Orchards)
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19 pages, 9276 KiB  
Article
A Diet with Amikacin Changes the Bacteriobiome and the Physiological State of Galleria mellonella and Causes Its Resistance to Bacillus thuringiensis
Insects 2023, 14(11), 889; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14110889 - 17 Nov 2023
Viewed by 843
Abstract
Environmental pollution with antibiotics can cause antibiotic resistance in microorganisms, including the intestinal microbiota of various insects. The effects of low-dose aminoglycoside antibiotic (amikacin) on the resident gut microbiota of Galleria mellonella, its digestion, its physiological parameters, and the resistance of this [...] Read more.
Environmental pollution with antibiotics can cause antibiotic resistance in microorganisms, including the intestinal microbiota of various insects. The effects of low-dose aminoglycoside antibiotic (amikacin) on the resident gut microbiota of Galleria mellonella, its digestion, its physiological parameters, and the resistance of this species to bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis were investigated. Here, 16S rDNA analysis revealed that the number of non-dominant Enterococcus mundtii bacteria in the eighteenth generation of the wax moth treated with amikacin was increased 73 fold compared to E. faecalis, the dominant bacteria in the native line of the wax moth. These changes were accompanied by increased activity of acidic protease and glutathione-S-transferase in the midgut tissues of larvae. Ultra-thin section electron microscopy detected no changes in the structure of the midgut tissues. In addition, reduced pupa weight and resistance of larvae to B. thuringiensis were observed in the eighteenth generation of the wax moth reared on a diet with amikacin. We suggest that long-term cultivation of wax moth larvae on an artificial diet with an antibiotic leads to its adaptation due to changes in both the gut microbiota community and the physiological state of the insect organism. Full article
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14 pages, 3488 KiB  
Article
Comparative Genomics Reveals Three Genetic Groups of the Whitefly Obligate Endosymbiont Candidatus Portiera aleyrodidarum
Insects 2023, 14(11), 888; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14110888 - 17 Nov 2023
Viewed by 708
Abstract
Maternally inherited obligate endosymbionts codiverge with their invertebrate hosts and reflect their host’s evolutionary history. Whiteflies (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) harbor one obligate endosymbiont, Candidatus Portiera aleyrodidarum (hereafter Portiera). Portiera was anciently acquired by whitefly and has been coevolving with its host ever since. [...] Read more.
Maternally inherited obligate endosymbionts codiverge with their invertebrate hosts and reflect their host’s evolutionary history. Whiteflies (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) harbor one obligate endosymbiont, Candidatus Portiera aleyrodidarum (hereafter Portiera). Portiera was anciently acquired by whitefly and has been coevolving with its host ever since. Uncovering the divergence of endosymbionts provides a fundamental basis for inspecting the coevolutionary processes between the bacteria and their hosts. To illustrate the divergence of Portiera lineages across different whitefly species, we sequenced the Portiera genome from Aleyrodes shizuokensis and conducted a comparative analysis on the basic features and gene evolution with bacterial genomes from five whitefly genera, namely Aleurodicus, Aleyrodes, Bemisia, Pealius, and Trialeurodes. The results indicated that Portiera from Bemisia possessed significantly larger genomes, fewer coding sequences (CDSs), and a lower coding density. Their gene arrangement differed notably from those of other genera. The phylogeny of the nine Portiera lineages resembled that of their hosts. Moreover, the lineages were classified into three distinct genetic groups based on the genetic distance, one from Aleurodicus (Aleurodicinae), one from Bemisia (Aleyrodinae), and another from Aleyrodes, Pealius, and Trialeurrodes (Aleyrodinae). Synonymous and nonsynonymous rate analyses, parity rule 2 plot analyses, neutrality plot analyses, and effective number of codons analyses supported the distinction of the three genetic groups. Our results indicated that Portiera from distant hosts exhibit distinct genomic contents, implying codivergence between hosts and their endosymbionts. This work will enhance our understanding of coevolution between hosts and their endosymbionts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Insect Molecular Biology and Genomics)
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12 pages, 1287 KiB  
Article
Interspecific Host Variation and Biotic Interactions Drive Pathogen Community Assembly in Chinese Bumblebees
Insects 2023, 14(11), 887; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14110887 - 17 Nov 2023
Viewed by 845
Abstract
Bumblebees have been considered one of the most important pollinators on the planet. However, recent reports of bumblebee decline have raised concern about a significant threat to ecosystem stability. Infectious diseases caused by multiple pathogen infections have been increasingly recognized as an important [...] Read more.
Bumblebees have been considered one of the most important pollinators on the planet. However, recent reports of bumblebee decline have raised concern about a significant threat to ecosystem stability. Infectious diseases caused by multiple pathogen infections have been increasingly recognized as an important mechanism behind this decline worldwide. Understanding the determining factors that influence the assembly and composition of pathogen communities among bumblebees can provide important implications for predicting infectious disease dynamics and making effective conservation policies. Here, we study the relative importance of biotic interactions versus interspecific host resistance in shaping the pathogen community composition of bumblebees in China. We first conducted a comprehensive survey of 13 pathogens from 22 bumblebee species across China. We then applied joint species distribution modeling to assess the determinants of pathogen community composition and examine the presence and strength of pathogen–pathogen associations. We found that host species explained most of the variations in pathogen occurrences and composition, suggesting that host specificity was the most important variable in predicting pathogen occurrences and community composition in bumblebees. Moreover, we detected both positive and negative associations among pathogens, indicating the role of competition and facilitation among pathogens in determining pathogen community assembly. Our research demonstrates the power of a pluralistic framework integrating field survey of bumblebee pathogens with community ecology frameworks to understand the underlying mechanisms of pathogen community assembly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Insect Behavior and Pathology)
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13 pages, 6257 KiB  
Article
Relationship between Nest and Body Temperature and Microclimate in the Paper Wasp Polistes dominula
Insects 2023, 14(11), 886; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14110886 - 16 Nov 2023
Viewed by 979
Abstract
The paper wasp Polistes dominula is a thermophilic species originating from the Mediterranean climate, but is now widely spread in Europe. They live in quite differing habitats; and as synanthropic species, they have been established in human settlement areas. They build a single [...] Read more.
The paper wasp Polistes dominula is a thermophilic species originating from the Mediterranean climate, but is now widely spread in Europe. They live in quite differing habitats; and as synanthropic species, they have been established in human settlement areas. They build a single small comb at protected places with a favorable microclimate. We measured the temperature of the wasps, the nests and their environment at typical nesting sides in Austria (Europe) in the temperate climate, in order to reveal relationships between nest and body temperature and the habitats’ microclimate. The temperatures of the comb and of the wasps’ body were in a wide range (~20–37 °C) above the ambient air temperature at the nest. This is an advantage as higher temperatures accelerate the development speed of the brood. However, the mean comb temperature did not exceed approximately 38.6 °C. This was managed by cooling efforts of the adult wasps. The ambient air temperature near the nest (~1–2 cm) was always clearly elevated above the ambient air temperature at a local standard weather station in the habitat. A comparison with climate-model-generated macroclimate data revealed the necessity of measuring microclimate data for a reliable description of the insects’ thermal environment. Full article
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14 pages, 6044 KiB  
Article
Intercropping Okra and Castor Bean Reduces Recruitment of Oriental Fruit Moth, Grapholita molesta (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) in a Pear Orchard
Insects 2023, 14(11), 885; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14110885 - 16 Nov 2023
Viewed by 912
Abstract
Intercrops can lower pest densities by increasing plant diversity, altering chemical communication in the arthropod community, and integrating well with other IPM tactics. We used two years of field observations and Y-tube olfactometer assays to explore the effects of intercropping a pear orchard [...] Read more.
Intercrops can lower pest densities by increasing plant diversity, altering chemical communication in the arthropod community, and integrating well with other IPM tactics. We used two years of field observations and Y-tube olfactometer assays to explore the effects of intercropping a pear orchard with okra and castor bean on the cosmopolitan fruit-boring pest Grapholita molesta (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae). Intercropping okra reduced G. molesta trap catches in the pear orchard in both years, and intercropping with castor bean reduced them in the second year. Hydrocarbons, phenols, and ketones predominated in the GC-MS assay of okra volatiles, whereas castor bean volatiles were rich in aldehydes, ketones, and esters. Five of the commercially available volatiles released by these plants exhibited repellency to G. molesta in olfactometer trials, especially cinnamaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, and thymol; the former compound also exhibited attraction to the egg parasitoid Trichogamma dendrolimi (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae). In addition to their repellent properties, okra and castor bean may enhance integrated control of G. molesta in orchards by hosting prey that support populations of generalist predators that either provide biological pest control services within the orchard ecosystem or generate non-consumptive effects that contribute to pest deterence. Among the plant volatiles evaluated, cinnamaldehyde has the best potential for deployment in orchards to repel G. molesta without disrupting augmentative releases of T. dendrolimi. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Insect Pest and Vector Management)
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14 pages, 1866 KiB  
Article
Male and Female Tortricid Moth Response to Non-Pheromonal Semiochemicals
Insects 2023, 14(11), 884; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14110884 - 16 Nov 2023
Viewed by 856
Abstract
In eastern North America, apple orchards are often attacked by several species of tortricid moths (Lepidoptera), including Cydia pomonella, Grapholita molesta, Argyrotaenia velutinana, and Pandemis limitata. Sex pheromones are routinely used to monitor male moth populations. Adding plant volatiles [...] Read more.
In eastern North America, apple orchards are often attacked by several species of tortricid moths (Lepidoptera), including Cydia pomonella, Grapholita molesta, Argyrotaenia velutinana, and Pandemis limitata. Sex pheromones are routinely used to monitor male moth populations. Adding plant volatiles to monitoring traps could increase the capture of moths of both sexes and improve the effectiveness of mating disruption systems. This study sought to quantify the attraction of adults of four tortricid moth species to five olfactory treatments, namely (1) Pherocon® CM L2-P, (2) Pherocon Megalure CM 4K Dual® (=Megalure), (3) Megalure + benzaldehyde, (4) TRE 2266 (linalool oxide + (E)-4,8-dimethyl-1,3,7-nonatriene (DMNT)), and (5) TRE 2267 (linalool oxide + DMNT + benzaldehyde), in non-mating disrupted commercial apple orchards in Massachusetts. The commercial lure Megalure was attractive to both sexes of G. molesta and C. pomonella. The addition of benzaldehyde to TRE 2266 or to Megalure significantly increased the capture of male G. molesta during the mid and late season of 2021. Only when benzaldehyde was added to TRE 2266 did the latter lure attract P. limitata in 2020 and 2021. The greatest number of tortricid moths (all four species combined) was captured by TRE 2267. This finding highlights the opportunity to enhance the attractiveness of a commercial lure through the addition of benzaldehyde, an aromatic compound, to Megalure. The potential of these additional volatiles to detect moths in a mating-disrupted orchard and/or remove female moths as a component of a management system is discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Insect Behavior and Pathology)
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22 pages, 3544 KiB  
Article
Uncovering the Chemosensory System of a Subterranean Termite, Odontotermes formosanus (Shiraki) (Isoptera: Termitidae): Revealing the Chemosensory Genes and Gene Expression Patterns
Insects 2023, 14(11), 883; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14110883 - 15 Nov 2023
Viewed by 872
Abstract
Termites are eusocial insects. Chemical signals between colony members are crucial to the smooth running of colony operations, but little is known about their olfactory system and the roles played by various chemosensory genes in this process. Chemosensory genes are involved in basic [...] Read more.
Termites are eusocial insects. Chemical signals between colony members are crucial to the smooth running of colony operations, but little is known about their olfactory system and the roles played by various chemosensory genes in this process. Chemosensory genes are involved in basic olfactory perception in insects. Odontotermes formosanus (Shiraki) is one of the most damaging pests to agricultural crops, forests, and human-made structures. To better understand the olfactory system and the genes involved in olfactory processing in O. formosanus, we produced a transcriptome of worker termites. In this study, we identified 13 OforOBPs, 1 OforCSP, 15 OforORs, 9 OforGRs, and 4 OforSNMPs. Multiple sequence alignments were used in the phylogenetic study, which included data from other termite species and a wide variety of insect species. Moreover, we also investigated the mRNA expression levels using qRT-PCR. The significantly high expression levels of OforCSP1, OforOBP2, OforOR1, and OforSNMP1 suggest that these genes may play important roles in olfactory processing in termite social behavior, including caste differentiation, nestmate and non-nestmate discrimination, and the performance of colony operations among members. Our research establishes a foundation for future molecular-level functional studies of chemosensory genes in O. formosanus, which might lead to the identification of novel targets for termite integrated pest management. Full article
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18 pages, 7191 KiB  
Article
From Field Data to Practical Knowledge: Investigating the Bioecology of the Oak Lace Bug—An Invasive Insect Species in Europe
Insects 2023, 14(11), 882; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14110882 - 15 Nov 2023
Viewed by 855
Abstract
Corythucha arcuata, commonly known as the oak lace bug (OLB), is an insect species originally native to North America that has become an invasive species of significant concern in Europe. This invasive pest has been observed in various European countries, raising concerns [...] Read more.
Corythucha arcuata, commonly known as the oak lace bug (OLB), is an insect species originally native to North America that has become an invasive species of significant concern in Europe. This invasive pest has been observed in various European countries, raising concerns about its impact on forest ecosystems. In 2015, it was first documented in Romania, further highlighting the need for research on its bioecology and life cycle. This study investigated the bioecology of the OLB in the southern region of Romania, focusing on its life cycle, development, and population dynamics. The results indicated that the OLB has three generations per year and overwinters in the adult stage in sheltered locations. Temperature significantly influenced the timing of egg hatching, nymph appearance, and adult development, with variation observed between generations. Additionally, a life table analysis provided insights into the population dynamics of the OLB in its natural environment, revealing variation in egg laying trends across generations. This research contributes to a better understanding of the OLB’s bioecology and provides essential data for forest managers developing science-based management strategies to mitigate its impact. By elucidating the life cycle and development patterns of the OLB in southern Romania, this study aids in the development of predictive models and life tables tailored to the region. These findings empower forest managers with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions for effective OLB management, ultimately preserving the health of forest ecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Invasive Pest Management and Climate Change)
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16 pages, 3075 KiB  
Article
Novel Microsatellite Loci, Cross-Species Validation of Multiplex Assays, and By-Catch Mitochondrial Genomes on Ochthebius Beetles from Supratidal Rockpools
Insects 2023, 14(11), 881; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14110881 - 15 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1228
Abstract
Here we focus on designing, for the first time, microsatellite markers for evolutionary and ecological research on aquatic beetles from the genus Ochthebius (Coleoptera, Hydraenidae). Some of these non-model species, with high cryptic diversity, exclusively inhabit supratidal rockpools, extreme and highly dynamic habitats [...] Read more.
Here we focus on designing, for the first time, microsatellite markers for evolutionary and ecological research on aquatic beetles from the genus Ochthebius (Coleoptera, Hydraenidae). Some of these non-model species, with high cryptic diversity, exclusively inhabit supratidal rockpools, extreme and highly dynamic habitats with important anthropogenic threats. We analysed 15 individuals of four species (O. lejolisii, O. subinteger, O. celatus, and O. quadricollis) across 10 localities from the Mediterranean coasts of Spain and Malta. Using next-generation sequencing technology, two libraries were constructed to interpret the species of the two subgenera present consistently (Ochthebius s. str., O. quadricollis; and Cobalius, the rest of the species). Finally, 20 markers (10 for each subgenus) were obtained and successfully tested by cross-validation in the four species under study. As a by-catch, we could retrieve the complete mitochondrial genomes of O. lejolisii, O. quadricollis, and O. subinteger. Interestingly, the mitochondrial genome of O. quadricollis exhibited high genetic variability compared to already published data. The novel SSR panels and mitochondrial genomes for Ochthebius will be valuable in future research on species identification, diversity, genetic structure, and population connectivity in highly dynamic and threatened habitats such as supratidal coastal rockpools. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Arthropod Biodiversity: Ecological and Functional Aspects)
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11 pages, 847 KiB  
Article
Field Test of the Propheromones of the Whitemarked Tussock Moth (WMTM) Orgyia leucostigma (J.E. Smith) (Lepidoptera: Erebidae)
Insects 2023, 14(11), 880; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14110880 - 15 Nov 2023
Viewed by 757
Abstract
The whitemarked tussock moth (WMTM), Orgyia leucostigma (J.E. Smith) (Lepidoptera: Erebidae), is an economic pest in Nova Scotia, Canada, where it undergoes periodic outbreaks defoliating several tree species of economic value, including balsam fir, Abies balsamea (L.) Miller (Pinaceae). Herein is described a [...] Read more.
The whitemarked tussock moth (WMTM), Orgyia leucostigma (J.E. Smith) (Lepidoptera: Erebidae), is an economic pest in Nova Scotia, Canada, where it undergoes periodic outbreaks defoliating several tree species of economic value, including balsam fir, Abies balsamea (L.) Miller (Pinaceae). Herein is described a releasing device for the WMTM sex pheromone (Z,Z)-6, 9-heneicosadien-11-one based on a rubber septum, which converts pheromone precursors, such as acetals, namely (Z,Z)-11,11-dimethoxy-6,9-heneicosadiene and (Z,Z)-6,9-heneicosadien-11-one ethylene ketal, to the pheromone itself by the action of acetic acid and releases it over time. The pheromone is unstable in nature and, consequently, lures made with this compound will only attract WMTM for a day or two. The two pheromone precursors, however, are more stable, and are converted slowly into the pheromone by acetic acid impregnated in the releasing device, or by acidic conditions in the environment. The two pheromone precursors were synthesized in 2019 using a modified, previously published approach. Field trapping studies conducted from 2019–22 showed that traps baited with rubber septa loaded with either (Z,Z)-11,11-dimethoxy-6,9-heneicosadiene by itself or (Z,Z)-6,9-heneicosadien-11-one ethylene ketal plus acetic acid consistently caught significantly more WMTM than traps baited with blank septa in most experiments. Full article
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11 pages, 2023 KiB  
Article
Effects of the Weather on the Seasonal Population Trend of Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) in Northern Italy
Insects 2023, 14(11), 879; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14110879 - 15 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1246
Abstract
Background: Aedes albopictus, the Asian tiger mosquito, has become a prevalent pest in Italy, causing severe nuisance and posing a threat of transmission of arboviruses introduced by infected travelers. In this study, we investigated the influence of weather parameters on the seasonal [...] Read more.
Background: Aedes albopictus, the Asian tiger mosquito, has become a prevalent pest in Italy, causing severe nuisance and posing a threat of transmission of arboviruses introduced by infected travelers. In this study, we investigated the influence of weather parameters on the seasonal population density of Aedes albopictus. Methods: A Bayesian approach was employed to identify the best meteorological predictors of species trend, using the eggs collected monthly from 2010 to 2022 by the Emilia-Romagna regional monitoring network. Results: The findings show that the winter–spring period (January to May) plays a crucial role in the size of the first generation and seasonal development of the species. Conclusions: A temperate winter and a dry and cold March, followed by a rainy and hot spring and a rainy July, seem to favor the seasonal development of Ae. albopictus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Insect Pest and Vector Management)
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16 pages, 8779 KiB  
Article
New Mitogenomes of the Green Lacewing Tribe Ankylopterygini (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae: Chrysopinae) and Phylogenetic Implications of Chrysopidae
Insects 2023, 14(11), 878; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14110878 - 14 Nov 2023
Viewed by 813
Abstract
Chrysopidae (green lacewings) are a cosmopolitan and species-rich family of Neuroptera, with remarkable significance of biological control against various agricultural and forestry pests. However, the phylogenetic position of Chrysopidae in Neuroptera and the internal relationships within the family remain equivocal among previous studies [...] Read more.
Chrysopidae (green lacewings) are a cosmopolitan and species-rich family of Neuroptera, with remarkable significance of biological control against various agricultural and forestry pests. However, the phylogenetic position of Chrysopidae in Neuroptera and the internal relationships within the family remain equivocal among previous studies based on different types of data and sampling. Here we sequenced the mitochondrial genomes (mitogenomes) of two species of the genus Ankylopteryx in the chrysopine tribe Ankylopterygini for the first time. The characteristics of these mitogenomes were analyzed in comparison with other green lacewing mitogenomes published to date. In the phylogeny herein reconstructed based on mitogenomes, Chrysopinae were recovered as the sister group to Apochrysinae + Nothochrysinae. Within the subfamily of Chrysopinae, Nothancylini were recovered as the sister group to (Leucochrysini + Belonopterygini) + (Ankylopterygini + Chrysopini). The divergence time estimation suggested an Early Cretaceous initial divergence within the extant Chrysopidae. Within Chrysopinae, the four tribes except Nothancylini diverged around mid-Cretaceous. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Insect Systematics, Phylogeny and Evolution)
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14 pages, 3710 KiB  
Article
Insect-Mediated Pollination of Strawberries in an Urban Environment
Insects 2023, 14(11), 877; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14110877 - 14 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1321
Abstract
Pollination services provided by a diversity of pollinators are critical in agriculture because they enhance the yield of many crops. However, few studies have assessed pollination services in urban agricultural systems. We performed flower–visitor observations and pollination experiments on strawberries (Fragaria × [...] Read more.
Pollination services provided by a diversity of pollinators are critical in agriculture because they enhance the yield of many crops. However, few studies have assessed pollination services in urban agricultural systems. We performed flower–visitor observations and pollination experiments on strawberries (Fragaria × ananassa) in an urban area near Paris, France, in order to assess the effects of (i) insect-mediated pollination service and (ii) potential pollination deficit on fruit set, seed set, and fruit quality (size, weight, and malformation). Flower–visitor observations revealed that the pollinator community solely comprised unmanaged pollinators, despite the presence of beehives in the surrounding landscape. Based on the pollination experiments, we found that the pollination service mediated by wild insects improved the fruit size as a qualitative value of production, but not the fruit set. We also found no evidence of pollination deficit in our urban environment. These results suggest that the local community of wild urban pollinators is able to support strawberry crop production and thus plays an important role in providing high-quality, local, and sustainable crops in urban areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pollinator Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services)
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17 pages, 2179 KiB  
Article
In Vivo Bioassay of the Repellent Activity of Caraway Essential Oil against Green Peach Aphid
Insects 2023, 14(11), 876; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14110876 - 14 Nov 2023
Viewed by 808
Abstract
An in vivo dual choice bioassay with white cabbage as a host plant was used to determine the repellent effect of three different accessions of caraway (Carum carvi L.) essential oils (EOs) against the green peach aphid Myzus persicae (Sulzer). The dominant [...] Read more.
An in vivo dual choice bioassay with white cabbage as a host plant was used to determine the repellent effect of three different accessions of caraway (Carum carvi L.) essential oils (EOs) against the green peach aphid Myzus persicae (Sulzer). The dominant components of the EO were D-Carvone (47.3–74.4%) and D-limonene (25.2–51.9%), which accounted for 99.2–99.5% of the EOs determined by GC/MS. The EO with the highest D-limonene content (51.9%) showed the highest repellence (Repellency Index (RI) = +41%), which was stable up to 330 min. The incorporation of several surfactants with different hydrophilic-lipophilic balance values (from 12.4 to 16.7) with caraway EO caused a general inhibition of the repellent effect during the testing period (RI from +41% to −19%). Overall, the findings indicate that caraway EO could be used as a green peach aphid repellent, but more work is needed to formulate the EO into a ready-to-use product. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Formulations of Natural Substances against Insect Pests)
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10 pages, 1446 KiB  
Article
Bee Assemblage in the Southern Chihuahuan Desert: The Role of Season, Year, and Trap Color in Abundance
Insects 2023, 14(11), 875; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14110875 - 14 Nov 2023
Viewed by 896
Abstract
Recognizing how populations fluctuate over time is a crucial factor in determining the environmental elements affecting population persistence. However, the limited information on wild bee populations complicates the estimation of the impact of anthropogenic threats leading to changes in population size. To address [...] Read more.
Recognizing how populations fluctuate over time is a crucial factor in determining the environmental elements affecting population persistence. However, the limited information on wild bee populations complicates the estimation of the impact of anthropogenic threats leading to changes in population size. To address this, we conducted a study capturing and monitoring nine species of wild bees through monthly samplings over four years. Tray traps were placed in permanent plots, and capture records were used to determine population size (N) and density (D). A generalized linear model (GLM) was employed to determine how the use of traps affected bee species captures. The families Apidae and Halictidae represented the most captures. Apis mellifera, the Lasioglossum (Dialictus spp.) complex, and Macrotera sinaloana exhibited the largest number of captures and highest population density. Most species (77.7%) showed a tendency to remain constant over the years and to have a higher number of captures in the spring months. Moreover, yellow traps were the most effective in capturing bee individuals. We suggest that the availability of essential resources and the reduction in environmental stressors positively affected the capture of wild bee populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Arthropod Biodiversity: Ecological and Functional Aspects)
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17 pages, 960 KiB  
Review
Elucidating the Role of Honey Bees as Biomonitors in Environmental Health Research
Insects 2023, 14(11), 874; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14110874 - 14 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1346
Abstract
Recently, the One Health concept, which recognizes the interconnectedness of environmental, animal, and human health, has gained popularity. To collect data on environmental pollutants potentially harmful to human health over time, researchers often turn to natural organisms known as biomonitors. Honey bees, in [...] Read more.
Recently, the One Health concept, which recognizes the interconnectedness of environmental, animal, and human health, has gained popularity. To collect data on environmental pollutants potentially harmful to human health over time, researchers often turn to natural organisms known as biomonitors. Honey bees, in particular, prove to be exceptionally valuable biomonitors due to their capacity to accumulate pollutants from the air, soil, and water within a specific radius during their foraging trips. This systematic literature review summarizes the previous application of the bee species Apis mellifera in pollutant monitoring in articles published during the period of 2010–2020. Nineteen studies were included in this systematic literature review. Of these studies, the majority (n = 15) focused on the detection of heavy metals in honey bees and beehive products, while 4 studies focused on air pollution by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or particulate matter. The matrix most often applied was the whole honey bee. The included studies demonstrated that honey bees and hive products deliver quantitative and qualitative information about specific pollutants. In this regard, the whole honey bee was found to be the most reliable biomonitor. We found that the included studies differed in design and the methods used. Standardized studies could foster a more consistent interpretation of the levels detected in beehive matrices from an environmental health perspective. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bee Products: Status, Properties, Opportunities, and Challenges)
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25 pages, 2130 KiB  
Article
Patterns of Variation in the Usage of Fatty Acid Chains among Classes of Ester and Ether Neutral Lipids and Phospholipids in the Queensland Fruit Fly
Insects 2023, 14(11), 873; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14110873 - 14 Nov 2023
Viewed by 864
Abstract
Modern lipidomics has the power and sensitivity to elucidate the role of insects’ lipidomes in their adaptations to the environment at a mechanistic molecular level. However, few lipidomic studies have yet been conducted on insects beyond model species such as Drosophila melanogaster. [...] Read more.
Modern lipidomics has the power and sensitivity to elucidate the role of insects’ lipidomes in their adaptations to the environment at a mechanistic molecular level. However, few lipidomic studies have yet been conducted on insects beyond model species such as Drosophila melanogaster. Here, we present the lipidome of adult males of another higher dipteran frugivore, Bactrocera tryoni. We describe 421 lipids across 15 classes of ester neutral lipids and phospholipids and ether neutral lipids and phospholipids. Most of the lipids are specified in terms of the carbon and double bond contents of each constituent hydrocarbon chain, and more ether lipids are specified to this degree than in any previous insect lipidomic analyses. Class-specific profiles of chain length and (un)saturation are broadly similar to those reported in D. melanogaster, although we found fewer medium-length chains in ether lipids. The high level of chain specification in our dataset also revealed widespread non-random combinations of different chain types in several ester lipid classes, including deficits of combinations involving chains of the same carbon and double bond contents among four phospholipid classes and excesses of combinations of dissimilar chains in several classes. Large differences were also found in the length and double bond profiles of the acyl vs. alkyl or alkenyl chains of the ether lipids. Work on other organisms suggests some of the differences observed will be functionally consequential and mediated, at least in part, by differences in substrate specificity among enzymes in lipid synthesis and remodelling pathways. Interrogation of the B. tryoni genome showed it has comparable levels of diversity overall in these enzymes but with some gene gain/loss differences and considerable sequence divergence from D. melanogaster. Full article
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15 pages, 1566 KiB  
Article
Complex Effects of a Land-Use Gradient on Pollinators and Natural Enemies: Natural Habitats Mitigate the Effects of Aphid Infestation on Pollination Services
Insects 2023, 14(11), 872; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14110872 - 13 Nov 2023
Viewed by 925
Abstract
Pollinators and natural enemies are essential ecosystem service providers influenced by land-use and by interactions between them. However, the understanding of the combined impacts of these factors on pollinator and natural enemy activities and their ultimate effects on plant productivity remains limited. We [...] Read more.
Pollinators and natural enemies are essential ecosystem service providers influenced by land-use and by interactions between them. However, the understanding of the combined impacts of these factors on pollinator and natural enemy activities and their ultimate effects on plant productivity remains limited. We investigated the effects of local and landscape vegetation characteristics and the presence of herbivorous pests on pollination and biological control services and their combined influence on phytometer seed set. The study was conducted in a Mediterranean agro-ecosystem, encompassing ten shrubland plots spanning a land-use gradient. Within each plot, we placed caged and uncaged potted phytometer plants that were either aphid-infested or aphid-free. We quantified insect flower visitation, aphid predation and parasitism rates, and fruit and seed set. We found scale-dependent responses of pollinators and natural enemies to land-use characteristics. Flower species richness had a positive impact on aphid parasitism rates but a negative effect on pollinator activity. Notably, we found a more pronounced positive effect of natural areas on pollinator activity in aphid-infested compared to aphid-free plants, indicating a potentially critical role of natural habitats in mitigating the adverse effects of aphid infestation on pollination services. These results highlight the complex and interactive effects of land-use on pollinators and natural enemies, with significant implications for plant productivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Arthropod Biodiversity: Ecological and Functional Aspects)
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18 pages, 976 KiB  
Review
Research Progress on the Regulation of Autophagy and Apoptosis in Insects by Sterol Hormone 20-Hydroxyecdysone
Insects 2023, 14(11), 871; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14110871 - 12 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1194
Abstract
20E (20-Hydroxyecdysone) is a central steroid hormone that orchestrates developmental changes and metamorphosis in arthropods. While its molecular mechanisms have been recognized for some time, detailed elucidation has primarily emerged in the past decade. PCD (Programmed cell death), including apoptosis, necrosis, efferocytosis, pyroptosis, [...] Read more.
20E (20-Hydroxyecdysone) is a central steroid hormone that orchestrates developmental changes and metamorphosis in arthropods. While its molecular mechanisms have been recognized for some time, detailed elucidation has primarily emerged in the past decade. PCD (Programmed cell death), including apoptosis, necrosis, efferocytosis, pyroptosis, ferroptosis, and autophagy, plays a crucial role in regulated cell elimination, which is vital for cells’ development and tissue homeostasis. This review summarizes recent findings on 20E signaling regulated autophagy and apoptosis in insects, including Drosophila melanogaster, Bombyx mori, Helicoverpa armigera, and other species. Firstly, we comprehensively explore the biosynthesis of the sterol hormone 20E and its subsequent signal transduction in various species. Then, we focus on the involvement of 20E in regulating autophagy and apoptosis, elucidating its roles in both developmental contexts and bacterial infection scenarios. Furthermore, our discussion unfolds as a panoramic exposition, where we delve into the fundamental questions with our findings, anchoring them within the grander scheme of our study in insects. Deepening the understanding of 20E-autophagy/apoptosis axis not only underscores the intricate tapestry of endocrine networks, but also offers fresh perspectives on the adaptive mechanisms that have evolved in the face of environmental challenges. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insect Hormones, Metabolism, Immunity and Development)
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11 pages, 1169 KiB  
Article
Differential Effects of Two Tomato Begomoviruses on the Life History and Feeding Preference of Bemisia tabaci
Insects 2023, 14(11), 870; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14110870 - 11 Nov 2023
Viewed by 899
Abstract
Tomato yellow leaf curl disease, caused by a group of closely related tomato yellow leaf curl viruses, is a major threat to tomato cultivation worldwide. These viruses are primarily transmitted by the sweet potato whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) in a persistent-circulative manner, [...] Read more.
Tomato yellow leaf curl disease, caused by a group of closely related tomato yellow leaf curl viruses, is a major threat to tomato cultivation worldwide. These viruses are primarily transmitted by the sweet potato whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) in a persistent-circulative manner, wherein the virus circulates in the body of B. tabaci and infects its tissues. The complex relationship between viruses and whiteflies significantly influences virus transmission, with studies showing varying effects of the former on the life history and feeding preference of the latter. Whether these effects are direct or indirect, and whether they are negative, neutral, or positive, appears to depend on the specific interactions between virus and whitefly species. The tomato yellow leaf curl Thailand virus (TYLCTHV) and the tomato leaf curl Taiwan virus (ToLCTV) are two prevalent begomoviruses in fields in Taiwan. This study examined the direct and indirect effects of TYLCTHV and ToLCTV on the life history traits (longevity, fecundity, nymph survival, and nymph developmental time) and feeding preference of B. tabaci Middle East–Asia Minor 1 (MEAM1). The results revealed that TYLCTHV had no effects on these life history traits or the feeding preference of MEAM1 whiteflies. Although ToLCTV did not directly affect the longevity and fecundity of MEAM1 whiteflies, their fecundity and the nymph developmental time were negatively affected by feeding on ToLCTV-infected plants. In addition, ToLCTV infection also altered the feeding preference of MEAM1 whiteflies. The different effects of virus infection may contribute to the lower prevalence of ToLCTV compared to TYLCTHV in fields in Taiwan. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Insect Physiology, Reproduction and Development)
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