Bacterial transfer from Pristionchus entomophagus nematodes to the invasive ant Myrmica rubra and the potential for colony mortality in coastal Maine

Suzanne L. Ishaq, Alice Hotopp, Samantha Silverbrand, Jonathan E. Dumont, Amy Michaud, Jean D. MacRae, S. Patricia Stock, Eleanor Groden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The necromenic nematode Pristionchus entomophagus has been frequently found in nests of the invasive European ant Myrmica rubra in coastal Maine, United States, and may contribute to ant mortality and collapse of colonies by transferring environmental bacteria. Paenibacillus and several other bacterial species were found in the digestive tracts of nematodes harvested from collapsed ant colonies. Serratia marcescens, Serratia nematodiphila, and Pseudomonas fluorescens were collected from the hemolymph of nematode-infected wax moth (Galleria mellonella) larvae. Virulence against waxworms varied by the site of origin of the nematodes. In adult nematodes, bacteria were highly concentrated in the digestive tract with none observed on the cuticle. In contrast, juveniles had more on the cuticle than in the digestive tract. Host species was the primary factor affecting bacterial community profiles, but Spiroplasma sp. and Serratia marcescens sequences were shared across ants, nematodes, and nematode-exposed G. mellonella larvae.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102663
JournaliScience
Volume24
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 25 2021

Keywords

  • Entomology
  • Microbiology
  • Microbiome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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