Aphids (Hemiptera: Aphididae) have provided a suitable model to study endosymbionts, their community, and dynamics since the discovery of the obligate endosymbiont Buchnera aphidicola in these organisms. In previous studies, Wolbachia was found in some aphid species. In the present study, we report the prevalence of Wolbachia in aphids sampled from a geographically isolated region (Azores Islands), aiming at a better understanding and characterization of the two newly reported supergroups, M and N. The description of the supergroup M was based on 16S rRNA as well as some protein-coding genes. However, the assignment of the supergroup N was according to 16S rRNA gene sequences of a very few samples. We collected aphid samples and performed phylogenetic analysis of 16S rRNA gene as well as four protein-coding genes (gatB, ftsZ, coxA, and hcpA). The results demonstrate that the 16S rRNA gene data can unambiguously assign the strain supergroup and that the two supergroups, N and M, are equally prevalent in Azorean aphids. The available sequence data for the protein-coding markers can identify supergroup M but the status of supergroup N is inconclusive, requiring further studies. The data suggest that horizontal transmission of Wolbachia (Hertig and Wolbach) between two phylogenetically distant aphid species cohabiting the same plant host.
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Vol. 48 • No. 2