Nutritional Symbionts: Why Some Insects Don’t Have to Eat Their Vegetables

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While many animals, like humans, consume a varied diet to get their necessary nutrition, some insects have learned how to cheat the system and can extract nourishment from a nutritionally poor food source through symbioses with microbial symbionts. These symbionts can be different types of bacteria, yeasts, or protozoans and are found in many different insect groups.

Wolbachia Bacterium Prevents Mosquitoes from Transmitting Zika and Chikungunya

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison have confirmed that a benign bacterium called Wolbachia pipientis can completely block transmission of Zika virus in Aedes aegypti, the mosquito species responsible for passing the virus to humans. Matthew Aliota, a first author of a paper published in the journal Scientific Reports, says the bacteria could present a […]

A Report from the Summit on the Aedes aegypti Crisis in the Americas in Brazil

By Richard Levine Yesterday, March 13, 2016, nearly 70 scientists, public-health officials and other participants attended the Summit on the Aedes aegypti Crisis in the Americas, a one-day meeting convened by the Entomological Society of America (ESA) and the Sociedade Entomológica do Brasil (SEB) in the city of Maceió in Alagoas, Brazil. Although the Summit […]

Wolbachia Bacteria Can Control Mosquitoes with Fewer Chemicals

By Erin Weeks Imagine that a strain of bacteria living in your body had the power to protect you from deadly viruses, render you sterile, or even help give rise to a new species of human. For insects, it’s not just fantasy — one widespread variety of bacteria possesses all of these powers, and many […]

West Nile Virus Enhanced by Wolbachia in Culex tarsalis Mosquito

Wolbachia, a genus of bacteria that infects insects and other arthropods, has been used in the past to control mosquitoes and to hinder their ability to spread diseases such as dengue virus. However, researchers who wanted to know whether the bacteria could be used as a tool against West Nile virus have found that Wolbachia […]