Article CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
refereed
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Anatomical, phenological and genetic aspects of the host-parasite relationship between Andrena vaga (Hymenoptera) and Stylops ater (Strepsiptera)

Affiliation
Julius Kühn-Institute (JKI), Institute for Bee Protection, Germany ; Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Germany
Hoffmann, Marc;
GND
1243090715
Affiliation
Julius Kühn-Institute (JKI), Institute for Bee Protection, Germany
Gardein, Hanna;
GND
1205159517
Affiliation
Julius Kühn-Institute (JKI), Institute for Bee Protection, Germany
Greil, Henri;
GND
1209279037
Affiliation
Julius Kühn-Institute (JKI), Institute for Bee Protection, Germany ; Technische Universität Braunschweig, Zoological Institute, Germany
Erler, Silvio

Stylops ater is an endoparasite of the mining bee Andrena vaga with extreme sexual dimorphism and hypermetamorphosis. Its population structure, parasitization mode, genetic diversity and impact on host morphology were examined in nesting sites in Germany to better understand this highly specialized host–parasite interaction. The shift in host emergence due to stylopization was proven to be especially strong in A. vaga. Around 10% of bees hosted more than 1 Stylops, with at maximum 4. A trend in Stylops’ preference for hosts of their own sex and a sex-specific position of extrusion from the host abdomen was found. Invasion of Andrena eggs by Stylops primary larvae was depicted for the first time. Cephalothoraces of female Stylops were smaller in male and pluristylopized hosts, likely due to lower nutrient supply. The genes H3, 18S and cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 were highly conserved, revealing near-absence of local variation within Stylops. Ovaries of hosts with male Stylops contained poorly developed eggs while those of hosts with female Stylops were devoid of visible eggs, which might be due to a higher protein demand of female Stylops. Male Stylops, which might have a more energy-consuming development, led to a reduction in head width of their hosts. Host masculinization was present in the leaner shape of the metabasitarsus of stylopized females and is interpreted as a by-product of manipulation of the host’s endocrine system to shift its emergence. Stylopization intensified tergal hairiness, most strongly in hosts with female Stylops, near the point of parasite extrusion, hinting towards substance-induced host manipulation.

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