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Benefits and costs of hosting facultative symbionts in plant-sucking insects: A meta-analysis

Zytynska S.E., Tighiouart K., Frago E.. 2021. Molecular Ecology, 30 (11) : p. 2483-2494.

DOI: 10.5061/dryad.7h44j0zt5

DOI: 10.1111/mec.15897

Many animals have evolved associations with symbiotic microbes that benefit the host through increased growth, lifespan, and survival. Some interactions are obligate (essential for survival) while others are facultative (usually beneficial but not essential). Not all individuals host all facultative symbionts in a population, and thus there is probably a trade-off between the cost of hosting these symbionts and the benefits they confer to the host. Plant-sucking insects have been one of the most important models to test these costs and benefits experimentally. This research is now moving beyond the description of symbiont effects towards understanding the mechanisms of action, and their role in the wider ecological community. We present a quantitative and systematic analysis of the published evidence exploring this question. We found that whitefly and true bugs experience benefits through increased growth and fecundity, whereas aphids experience costs to their fecundity but benefits through increased resistance to natural enemies. We also report the lack of data in some plant-sucking groups, and explore variation in effect strengths and directions across aphid host, symbiont and plant species thus highlighting the importance of considering the context dependency of these interactions.

Mots-clés : symbiote; insecte suceur; aphidoidea; heteroptera; analyse coût avantage; physiologie animale; interactions biologiques

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