Natural infection of wireworm, Agriotes sp. (Coleoptera; Elateridae), with Rickettsiella bacteria
Wireworms, the polyphagous larvae of click beetles belonging to the genus Agriotes (Coleoptera: Elateridae), are severe and widespread agricultural pests affecting numerous crops worldwide. A previously unknown intracellular bacterium has been identified in a diseased Agriotes larva. Microscopic studies revealed the subcellular structures characteristic of rickettsiosis. Molecular phylogenetic analysis based on 16S ribosomal RNA encoding rrs gene demonstrated that the wireworm pathogen belongs to the taxonomic genus Rickettsiella (Gammaproteobacteria; Legionellales). The pathotype designation `Rickettsiella agriotidis´ has been proposed to refer to this organism. Moreover, genetic analysis makes it likely that this new pathotype should be considered a synonym of the nomenclatural type species, Rickettsiella popilliae.