Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tiny Bugs In Mealybugs Have Smaller Bugs Inside Them

Date:
August 28, 2002
Source:
University Of California - Davis
Summary:
Like tiny Russian dolls, the mealybugs that infest your houseplants carry bacteria inside their cells that are themselves infected with another type of bacteria. A new study by researchers at the University of California, Davis, shows that instead of spreading from bug to bug, the second set of bacteria infected the first several times in the past and are now being passed along and evolving with them.

Like tiny Russian dolls, the mealybugs that infest your houseplants carry bacteria inside their cells that are themselves infected with another type of bacteria. A new study by researchers at the University of California, Davis, shows that instead of spreading from bug to bug, the second set of bacteria infected the first several times in the past and are now being passed along and evolving with them.

Related Articles


The knowledge could be useful for working out how the insect species are related to each other, aiding pest control efforts.

Scientists had previously known that mealybugs carry two different types of bacteria. In 2001, researchers at Utah State University led by Carol von Dohlen showed that one type, called the secondary or S-endosymbiont, was actually inside the other, called the primary or P-endosymbiont. The P-endosymbionts were themselves inside specialized cells in the mealybug's body.

The P-endosymbionts seem to benefit mealybugs by making essential amino acids not found in their diet of plant sap, said UC Davis microbiology professor Paul Baumann.

"The insect has domesticated a bacterium for its own use," Baumann said. So far, no one knows what benefits flow to the insect or the P-endosymbiont from the S-endosymbionts, he said.

Baumann, with postgraduate researcher My Lo Thao and entomology professor Penny Gullan studied DNA sequences of P-and S-endosymbionts from several different species of mealybugs to see how they were related to each other.

The P-endosymbionts are all descended from an infection of an ancestor bug 150 to 250 million years ago, Baumann said. The S-endosymbionts had infected P-endosymbionts at least four times. Since then, the bacteria have been passed down through generations of bugs and split into new species at the same time as their hosts.

Because the evolutionary trees of the bugs, their bacteria and their bacteria's bacteria are so similar, the bacterial DNA sequences can be used to identify the insects and work out how the different species of mealybug are related to each other. Bacterial DNA is easier to work with than insect DNA, Baumann said.

Mealybugs belong to the same group of insects as aphids and psyllids. Many members of the group are significant pests on farms, gardens and houseplants.

The research is published in the July issue of Applied and Environmental Microbiology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of California - Davis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of California - Davis. "Tiny Bugs In Mealybugs Have Smaller Bugs Inside Them." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 August 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/08/020828062143.htm>.
University Of California - Davis. (2002, August 28). Tiny Bugs In Mealybugs Have Smaller Bugs Inside Them. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/08/020828062143.htm
University Of California - Davis. "Tiny Bugs In Mealybugs Have Smaller Bugs Inside Them." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/08/020828062143.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins