Journal article Open Access
This document includes the full list of specimens included in the study 'Unravelling Wolbachia global exchange: a contribution from the Bicyclus and Mylothris butterflies in the Afrotropics', and details about the Wolbachia strains they carry (MLST strain id)
It also includes sample size for each species, population, country, and ecoregion.
Samples in light green: the Wolbachia strains from Mylothris butterflies, described in this study
Samples in olive green: the Wolbachia strains from Bicyclus butterflies, described in this study
Background of the study:
Phylogenetically closely related strains of maternally inherited endosymbiotic bacteria are often found in phylogenetically divergent, and geographically distant insect host species. The interspecies transfer of the symbiont Wolbachia has been thought to have occurred repeatedly, facilitating its observed global pandemic. Few ecological interactions have been proposed as potential routes for the horizontal transfer of Wolbachia within natural insect communities. These routes are however likely to act only at the local scale, but how they may support the global distribution of some Wolbachia strains remains unclear. Here, we characterize the Wolbachia diversity in butterflies from the tropical forest regions of central Africa to discuss transfer at both local and global scales. We show that numerous species from both the Mylothris (family Pieridae) and Bicyclus (family Nymphalidae) butterfly genera are infected with similar Wolbachia strains, this despite only minor interclade contacts across the life cycles of the species within their partially overlapping ecological niches.