Plant-herbivore interactions have evolved in the presence of plant-colonizing microbes. These microbes can have important third-party effects on herbivore ecology, as exemplified by drosophilid flies that evolved from ancestors feeding on plant-associated microbes. Leaf-mining flies in the genus Scaptomyza, which is nested within the paraphyletic genus Drosophila, show strong associations with bacteria in the genus Pseudomonas, including Pseudomonas syringae. Adult females are capable of vectoring these bacteria between plants and larvae show a preference for feeding on P. syringae-infected leaves. Here we show that Scaptomyza flava larvae can also vector P. syringae to and from feeding sites, and that they not only feed more, but also develop faster on plants previously infected with P. syringae. Our genetic and physiological data show that P. syringae enhances S. flava feeding on infected plants at least in part by suppressing anti-herbivore defenses mediated by reactive oxygen species.
We present the first dated higher-level phylogenetic and biogeographic analysis of the butterfly family Riodinidae. This family is distributed worldwide, but more than 90% of the c. 1500 species are found in the Neotropics, while the c. 120 Old World species are concentrated in the Southeast Asian tropics, with minor Afrotropical and Australasian tropical radiations, and few temperate species. Morphologically based higher classification is partly unresolved, with genera incompletely assigned to tribes. Using 3666 bp from one mitochondrial and four nuclear markers for each of 23 outgroups and 178 riodinid taxa representing all subfamilies, tribes and subtribes, and 98 out of 145 described genera of riodinids, we estimate that Riodinidae split from Lycaenidae about 96 Mya in the mid-Cretaceous and started to diversify about 81 Mya. The Riodinidae are monophyletic and originated in the Neotropics, most likely in lowland proto-Amazonia. Neither the subfamily Euselasiinae nor the Nemeobiinae are monophyletic as currently constituted. The enigmatic, monotypic Neotropical genera Styx and Corrachia (most recently treated in Euselasiinae: Corrachiini) are highly supported as derived taxa in the Old World Nemeobiinae, with dispersal most likely occurring across the Beringia land bridge during the Oligocene. Styx and Corrachia, together with all other nemeobiines, are the only exclusively Primulaceae-feeding riodinids. The steadily increasing proliferation of the Neotropical Riodininae subfamily contrasts with the decrease in diversification in the Old World, and may provide insights into factors influencing the diversification rate of this relatively ancient clade of Neotropical insects. (C) 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Erwinia tracheiphila is one of the most economically important pathogens of cucumbers, melons, squashes, pumpkins, and gourds in the northeastern and midwestern United States, yet its molecular pathology remains uninvestigated. Here, we report the first draft genome sequence of an E. tracheiphila strain isolated from an infected wild gourd (Cucurbita pepo subsp. texana) plant. The genome assembly consists of 7 contigs and includes a putative plasmid and at least 20 phage and prophage elements.
Mutualistic interactions typically involve the exchange of different commodities between species . Nutritious secretions are produced by a number of insects and plants in exchange for services such as defense [2, 3]. These rewards are valuable metabolically and can be used to reinforce the behavior of symbiotic partners that can learn and remember them effectively [4, 5]. We show here novel effects of insect exocrine secretions produced by caterpillars in modulating the behavior of attendant ants in the food-for-defense interaction between lycaenid butterflies and ants . Reward secretions from the dorsal nectary organ (DNO) of Narathura japonica caterpillars function to reduce the locomotory activities of their attendant ants, Pristomyrmex punctatus workers. Moreover, workers that feed from caterpillar secretions are significantly more likely to show aggressive responses to eversion of the tentacle organs of the caterpillars. Analysis of the neurogenic amines in the brains of workers that consumed caterpillar secretions showed a significant decrease in levels of dopamine compared with controls. Experimental treatments in which reserpine, a known inhibitor of dopamine in Drosophila, was fed to workers similarly reduced their locomotory activity. We conclude that DNO secretions of lycaenid caterpillars can manipulate attendant ant behavior by altering dopaminergic regulation and increasing partner fidelity. Unless manipulated ants also receive a net nutritional benefit from DNO secretions, this suggests that similar reward-for-defense interactions that have been traditionally considered to be mutualisms may in fact be parasitic in nature.