Specialisation of bacterial endosymbionts that protect aphids from parasitoids

Mark K. Asplen, Nasreen Bano, Cristina M. Brady, Nicolas Desneux, Keith R. Hopper, Clara Malouines, Kerry M. Oliver, Jennifer A. White, George E. Heimpel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


1. Infection by the bacterial endosymbiont Hamiltonella defensa is capable of protecting the pea aphid from parasitism by Aphidius ervi and the black bean aphid from parasitism by Lysiphlebus fabarum. Here we investigate protection of a third aphid species, the cowpea aphid, Aphis craccivora, from four parasitoid species: Binodoxys communis, B. koreanus, Lysiphlebus orientalis, and Aphidius colemani. 2. We compared parasitism of A. craccivora lines that were either infected with, or cured of H. defensa separately for the four parasitoid species. Infection by H. defensa almost completely eliminated parasitism of A. craccivora by B. communis and B. koreanus, but had no effect on parasitism by L. orientalis and A. colemani. 3. This indicates at least genus-level specificity of protective effects by H. defensa and we discuss implications of our findings on the known world-wide distribution of this host/symbiont interaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)736-739
Number of pages4
JournalEcological Entomology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 The Royal Entomological Society.


  • Aphidius
  • Aphis craccivora
  • Binodoxys
  • Defensive symbiont
  • Hamiltonella defensa
  • Lysiphlebus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Insect Science


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