Record Details

Berkov, Amy;Feinstein, Julie;Small, Jacinta;Nkamany, Mary;Centeno, Pedro
Yeasts isolated from Neotropical wood-boring beetles in SE Peru
Journal Article
Los Amigos;inventories;invertebrates;beetles;Coleoptera;Cerambycidae;yeasts;fungi;Lecythidaceae;trees
Some temperate wood-boring cerambycid beetles harbor intracellular gut yeasts believed to augment host nutrition, but species belonging to the subfamily Lamiinae are thought to lack endosymbionts. Almost 49 percent of Neotropical cerambycid species are lamiines, therefore, comparatively few rain forest species would be expected to host symbiotic gut yeasts. This study reports the isolation of gut yeasts from closely related Neotropical lamiines. We investigated species that feed on trees in the Brazil nut family (Lecythidaceae), because host plant associations are relatively well known. Our objectives were to determine if gut yeasts were present and, if possible, infer their mode of transmission. We collected and dissected 18 beetle specimens from three tree species, including 17 cerambycids and one curculionid. Every insect specimen yielded a gut yeast. DNA sequence libraries were used for a rapid identification of the yeasts and their larval hosts. The cerambycids included five lamiine species and one cerambycine. Six ascomycete yeasts were isolated from their guts; we found no evidence of strict vertical transmission. Larval gut yeasts were genetically similar to yeasts previously isolated from insects associated with wood or fungi, implying potential habitat specificity. The yeasts have not yet been localized, and potential function is not known, but they may contribute to rapid nutrient cycling or serve as the first line of defense against plant toxins.