What is it about?

Wolbachia is an endosymbiotic bacterium widespread in insects. Here we discover that many female mosquitos carrying an introduced Wolbachia and developing from long-stored eggs or starved larvae lack functional ovaries and are infertile. These infertile females also take blood meals more often from humans.

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Why is it important?

Wolbachia is a stable biocontrol agent artificially introduced into the mosquito Aedes aegypti to reduce the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue. The novel impacts of Wolbachia discovered in this study inform the success of invasion of Wolbachia under some ecological circumstances where the mosquito eggs must persist in the absence of water for a period and where larval food is limiting, with additional implications for understanding barriers to the transmission of Wolbachia and other endosymbionts to novel hosts.


Further investigation and monitoring of the impacts of Wolbachia on hosts in the field can help design better strategies to introduce Wolbachia to inhibit the transmission of arboviral diseases. From an evolutionary perspective, the work points to new avenues to explore in Wolbachia-host coevolution and in understanding why Wolbachia may be common in certain taxonomic groups but not others.

Dr Meng-Jia Lau

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Wolbachia inhibits ovarian formation and increases blood feeding rate in female Aedes aegypti, PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, November 2022, PLOS, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0010913.
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