2015 Volume 30 Issue 4 Pages 321-329
A number of phytophagous stinkbugs (order Heteroptera: infraorder Pentatomomorpha) harbor symbiotic bacteria in a specific midgut region composed of numerous crypts. Among the five superfamilies of the infraorder Pentatomomorpha, most members of the Coreoidea and Lygaeoidea are associated with a specific group of the genus Burkholderia, called the “stinkbug-associated beneficial and environmental (SBE)” group, which is not vertically transmitted, but acquired from the environment every host generation. A recent study reported that, in addition to these two stinkbug groups, the family Largidae of the superfamily Pyrrhocoroidea also possesses a Burkholderia symbiont. Despite this recent finding, the phylogenetic position and biological nature of Burkholderia associated with Largidae remains unclear. Based on the combined results of fluorescence in situ hybridization, cloning analysis, Illumina deep sequencing, and egg inspections by diagnostic PCR, we herein demonstrate that the largid species are consistently associated with the “plant-associated beneficial and environmental (PBE)” group of Burkholderia, which are phylogenetically distinct from the SBE group, and that they maintain symbiosis through the environmental acquisition of the bacteria. Since the superfamilies Coreoidea, Lygaeoidea, and Pyrrhocoroidea are monophyletic in the infraorder Pentatomomorpha, it is plausible that the symbiotic association with Burkholderia evolved at the common ancestor of the three superfamilies. However, the results of this study strongly suggest that a dynamic transition from the PBE to SBE group, or vice versa, occurred in the course of stinkbug evolution.