Microbial Ecology

, Volume 77, Issue 1, pp 230–242 | Cite as

Bacterial and Fungal Midgut Community Dynamics and Transfer Between Mother and Brood in the Asian Longhorned Beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis), an Invasive Xylophage

  • Charles J. Mason
  • Alexander M. Campbell
  • Erin D. Scully
  • Kelli Hoover
Invertebrate Microbiology


Microbial symbionts play pivotal roles in the ecology and physiology of insects feeding in woody plants. Both eukaryotic and bacterial members occur in these systems where they facilitate digestive and nutrient provisioning. The larval gut of the Asian longhorned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) is associated with a microbial consortium that fulfills these metabolic roles. While members of the community vary in presence and abundance among individuals from different hosts, A. glabripennis is consistently associated with a fungus in the Fusarium solani species complex (FSSC). We used amplicon sequencing, taxon-specific PCR, culturing, and imaging to determine how bacterial and fungal communities differ between life stages and possible modes of symbiont transfer. The bacterial and fungal communities of adult guts were more diverse than those from larvae and eggs. The communities of larvae and eggs were more similar to those from oviposition sites than from adult female guts. FSSC isolates were not detected in the reproductive tissues of adult females, but were consistently detected on egg surfaces after oviposition and in frass. These results demonstrate that frass can serve as a vehicle of transmission of a subset for the beetle gut microbiota. Vertically transmitted symbionts are often beneficial to their host, warranting subsequent functional studies.


Bacterial 16S rRNA Fungal ITS1 Asian longhorned beetle Fusarium solani Vertical transmission Symbiosis 



We would like to thank David Long and Francine McCullough for the A. glabripennis colony maintenance and Cristina Rosa for the qPCR machine access. We would also like to thank Jon Cantolina at the PSU Microscopy and Cytometry Facility for the assistance in image collection. Funding was provided by USDA-NIFA Grant 2015-67013-23287 and the Alphawood Foundation. This manuscript was improved by constructive comments from two anonymous referees. The US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, and all agency services are available without discrimination. Mention of commercial products and organizations in this manuscript is solely to provide specific information. It does not constitute endorsement by USDA-ARS over other products and organizations not mentioned.

Supplementary material

248_2018_1205_MOESM1_ESM.eps (93 kb)
Supplemental Fig 1: qPCR of FSSC in A. glabripennis adults guts, adult frass, oviposition excretions, and larval guts. Eggs were not included due to poor amplification of beetle housekeeper. (EPS 92 kb)
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High resolution image (PNG 10 kb)

248_2018_1205_MOESM2_ESM.eps (55 kb)
Supplemental Fig 2: Comparison of culturable microbial titers present in adult female A. glabripennis frass and phloem. Adjacent to oviposition pit. (EPS 55 kb)
248_2018_1205_Fig7_ESM.png (3 kb)

High resolution image (PNG 3 kb)

248_2018_1205_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (366 kb)
Supplemental Fig 3: Assessment of FSSC primer specificity with cultivatable fungi. (PDF 365 kb)
248_2018_1205_MOESM4_ESM.mp4 (158.7 mb)
ESM 4 (MP4 162518 kb) (15.4 mb)
ESM 5 (MOV 15760 kb)
248_2018_1205_MOESM6_ESM.docx (131 kb)
ESM 6 (DOCX 130 kb)
248_2018_1205_MOESM7_ESM.docx (28 kb)
ESM 7 (DOCX 28 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles J. Mason
    • 1
  • Alexander M. Campbell
    • 1
  • Erin D. Scully
    • 2
  • Kelli Hoover
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Entomology and Center for Chemical EcologyThe Pennsylvania State UniversityState CollegeUSA
  2. 2.Stored Product Insect and Engineering Research Unit, USDA, Agricultural Research ServiceCenter for Grain and Animal Health ResearchManhattanUSA

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