The presence of Wolbachia in Brood X cicadas

(1) Schiff Family Science Research Institute, The Summit Country Day School, Cincinnati, Ohio
Cover photo for The presence of <em>Wolbachia</em> in Brood X cicadas

Wolbachia is an inherited bacterial symbiont that lives within the reproductive cells of approximately 60% of insect species. It manipulates sexual reproduction in insects in multiple ways that ultimately lead to an increased number of Wolbachia-infected females. It is not known if Wolbachia is a symbiont present in the Brood X seventeen-year periodical cicadas. Brood X cicadas have declining populations in Ohio and Indiana and factors that impact their declining numbers have not been identified. We hypothesized that Brood X cicadas would be infected with Wolbachia. Genomic DNA was isolated from one hundred cicadas from two species, 50 from Magicicada septendecim and 50 from the Magicicada cassini, collected in the greater Cincinnati, Ohio area. A polymerase chain reaction protocol screened the DNA samples and identified one M. septendecim cicada with a Wolbachia- specific 16S rRNA amplicon. A Basic Local Alignment Search Tool nucleotide (BLASTN) analysis of the 388 nucleotide sequence confirmed Wolbachia species which conformed toWolbachia supergroup A.Wolbachia infection is low in Brood X M. septendecim cicadas and not identified in Brood X M. cassini cicadas. Efforts within the scientific community should continue the search for Wolbachia in cicadas, so the full ramifications of this symbiont on declining populations of Brood X cicadas can be uncovered.

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