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Shifting microbiomes complement life stage transitions and diet of the bird parasite Philornis downsi from the Galapagos Islands

Citation:

Jose, P. A. ; Ben-Yosef, M. ; Lahuatte, P. ; Causton, C. E. ; Heimpel, G. E. ; Jurkevitch, E. ; Yuval, B. Shifting microbiomes complement life stage transitions and diet of the bird parasite Philornis downsi from the Galapagos Islands. ENVIRONMENTAL MICROBIOLOGY 2021, 23, 5014-5029.

Date Published:

SEP

Abstract:

Domestication disconnects an animal from its natural environment and diet, imposing changes in the attendant microbial community. We examine these changes in Philornis downsi (Muscidae), an invasive parasitic fly of land birds in the Galapagos Islands. Using a 16S rDNA profiling approach we studied the microbiome of larvae and adults of wild and laboratory-reared populations. These populations diverged in their microbiomes, significantly more so in larval than in adult flies. In field-collected second-instar larvae, Klebsiella (70.3%) was the most abundant taxon, while in the laboratory Ignatzschineria and Providencia made up 89.2% of the community. In adults, Gilliamella and Dysgonomonas were key members of the core microbiome of field-derived females and males but had no or very low representation in the laboratory. Adult flies harbour sex-specific microbial consortia in their gut, as male core microbiomes were significantly dominated by Klebsiella. Thus, P. downsi microbiomes are dynamic and shift correspondingly with life cycle and diet. Sex-specific foraging behaviour of adult flies and nest conditions, which are absent in the laboratory, may contribute to shaping distinct larval, and adult male and female microbiomes. We discuss these findings in the context of microbe-host co-evolution and the implications for control measures.