Matthew Meriweather, Sara Matthews, Rita Rio, Regina S Baucom
(Submitted on 13 Oct 2012)
Elucidating the spatial dynamic and core constituents of the microbial communities found in association with arthropod hosts is of crucial importance for insects that may vector human or agricultural pathogens. The hematophagous Cimex lectularius, known as the common bed bug, has made a recent resurgence in North America, as well as worldwide, potentially owing to increased travel and resistance to insecticides. A comprehensive survey of the bed bug microbiome has not been performed to date, nor has an assessment of the spatial dynamics of its microbiome. Here we present a survey of bed bug microbial communities by amplifying the V4-V6 hypervariable region of the 16S rDNA gene region followed by 454 Titanium sequencing using 31 individuals from eight natural populations collected from residences in Cincinnati, OH. Across all samples, 97% of the microbial community is made up of two dominant OTUs identified as the -proteobacterium Wolbachia and an unnamed -proteobacterium from the Enterobacteriaceae. Microbial communities varied among host populations for measures of community diversity and exhibited significant population structure. We also uncovered a strong negative correlation in the abundance of the two dominant OTUs, suggesting they may fulfill similar roles as nutritional mutualists. This broad survey represents the most comprehensive assessment, to date, of the microbes that associate with bed bugs, and uncovers evidence for potential antagonism between the two dominant members of the bed bug microbiome.