Differences in midgut microbial communities inhabiting Culicoides spp., insect vectors of virus pathogens, may affect the variation observed in the ability of these biting midges to propagate arthropod-borne viruses. As a first step toward addressing this hypothesis, midgut bacterial communities were compared between Culicoides species expected to be efficient and inefficient vectors of virus pathogens. We used 16S rDNA sequence and restriction fragment information to provisionally identify 36 bacterial genera from guts of wild adult female biting midges, Culicoides sonorensis Wirth and Jones and Culicoides variipennis (Coquillet), from two geographical locations. Bacterial identification was made by sequence analysis of 16S rDNA fragments and by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis of polymerase chain reaction-amplified 16S rDNA fragments from adult guts. Of 36 bacterial genera identified, 12 had been previously identified in other insects: Comomonas, Enterobacter, Klebsiella, Acinetobacter, Pseudomonas, Stenotrophomonas, Staphylococcus, Chryseobacterium, Moraxella, Acholeplasma, Flavobacterium, and Rickettsia. Significant differences in bacterial community composition were found between all three groups of wild adult females analyzed: live-trapped C. sonorensis, laboratory-emerged C. sonorensis, and laboratory-emerged C. variipennis.
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