Evol Ecol Res 7: 931-942 (2005)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Variation in the prevalence of cytoplasmic incompatibility-inducing Wolbachia in the butterfly Eurema hecabe across the Japanese archipelago

Masato Hiroki,* Yumiko Ishii‡ and Yoshiomi Kato

Department of Biology, International Christian University, Mitaka, Tokyo 181-8585, Japan

Author to whom all correspondence should be addressed.
e-mail: hiroki@nt.icu.ac.jp


Question: Is the prevalence of cytoplasmic incompatibility-inducing Wolbachia spreading throughout butterfly populations?

Hypothesis: Wolbachia are self-promoting intracellular microbes and the infection spreads easily among host populations.

Organism: Japanese pierid butterfly (Eurema hecabe).

Field sites: Thirty-two haphazardly selected local populations throughout the Japanese archipelago.

Methods: We surveyed Wolbachia infection from 1997 to 2000 using diagnostic PCR. An inter-population cross-experiment was performed to detect cytoplasmic incompatibility in 1992, 1999 and 2000.

Conclusions: High Wolbachia frequencies were detected in southern populations, but no infection was found in the northern parts of Japan. Cytoplasmic incompatibility-inducing Wolbachia was found in the two main types of host (brown and yellow), which are reproductively isolated. The invasion of cytoplasmic incompatibility-inducing Wolbachia into the central Japanese populations has occurred within the last decade as shown by chronological data. Our data fit well with standard models of Wolbachia dynamics.

Keywords: cytoplasmic incompatibility, Eurema hecabe, reproductive isolation, speciation, Wolbachia.

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