Wolbachia effects in Drosophila melanogaster: In search of fitness benefits

W. Harcombe, A. A. Hoffmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Insect endosymbionts often influence host nutrition but these effects have not been comprehensively investigated in Wolbachia endosymbionts that are widespread in insects. Using strains of Drosophila melanogaster with the wMel Wolbachia infection, we showed that Wolbachia did not influence adult starvation resistance. Wolbachia also had no effect on larval development time or the size of emerging adults from a low nutrition medium. While Wolbachia may influence the expression of heat shock proteins, we found that there was no effect on adult heat resistance when tested in terms of survival or virility following heat stress. The absence of nutrition or stress effects suggests that other processes maintain wMel frequencies in natural populations of Drosophila melanogaster.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-50
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Invertebrate Pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Australian Research Council via their Large Grant and Special Research Centre programs, as well as by the Australian-American Fulbright Commission.


  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Endosymbiont
  • Fitness
  • Heat
  • Nutrition
  • Stress
  • Wolbachia


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