Episode 11

Ep. 11. Bacteria in Whiteflies and Diabolical Ironclad Beetles

I've received reports of large migrations of whiteflies recently in the landscape, from Dallas, Austin and even east Texas regions. It's not uncommon to see large clouds of whiteflies when cotton is 'defoliated' in preparation for harvest; however, whiteflies often need some time to get used to their new plant host (acclimation). Changes in endosymbionts, bacteria found inside the insect that commonly have a mutualistic positive relationship with the insect, are a potential explanation for host shift acclimation. For fun, we also talk about the diabolical ironclad beetle and it's incredibly resilient properties that make engineers interested enough to study.

Some references:

Asplen, M. K., N. Bano, C. M. Brady, N. Desneux, K. R. Hopper, C. Malouines, K. M. Oliver, J. A. White, and G. E. Heimpel. 2014. Specialisation of bacterial endosymbionts that protect aphids from parasitoids. Ecol. Entomol. 39: 736–739.

Hu, F.-Y., and C.-W. Tsai. 2020. Nutritional relationship between Bemisia tabaci and its primary endosymbiont, Portiera aleyrodidarum, during host plant acclimation. Insects. 11: 1–13.

Liu, X. D., and H. F. Guo. 2019. Importance of endosymbionts Wolbachia and Rickettsia in insect resistance development. Curr. Opin. Insect Sci. 33: 84–90.

Kanakala, S., and M. Ghanim. 2019. Global genetic diversity and geographical distribution of Bemisia tabaci and its bacterial endosymbionts. PLoS One. 14.

Weinert, L. A., E. V. Araujo-Jnr, M. Z. Ahmed, and J. J. Welch. 2015. The incidence of bacterial endosymbionts in terrestrial arthropods. Proc. R. Soc. B Biol. Sci. 282: 3–8.

Vorburger, C. 2018. Symbiont-conferred resistance to parasitoids in aphids – Challenges for biological control. Biol. Control. 116: 17–26. 

About the Podcast

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Jolly Green Scientists
Digesting scientific research relevant to the green industry

About your hosts

Profile picture for Erfan Vafaie

Erfan Vafaie

I'm an entomologist with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, based out of Overton, Texas (U.S.A.). I conduct research and educational programming on integrative pest management of ornamental and nursery crops, working mainly with producers and other green industry professionals. My online 'pseudonym' is the SixLeggedAggie.
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Vikram Baliga

I'm the manager of the University Teaching and Research Greenhouse and Horticultural Gardens at Texas Tech University. I also serve as an instructor of horticulture in the Department of Plant and Soil Science and I'm a long-time and active science communicator. I'm also a thunderous plant nerd.