Anopheles (An.) mosquitoes contain bacteria that can influence Plasmodium parasites. Wolbachia, a common insect endosymbiont, has historically been considered absent from Anopheles but has recently been found in An. gambiae populations. Here, we assessed a range of Anopheles species from five malaria-endemic countries for Wolbachia and Plasmodium infection. Strikingly, we found Wolbachia infections in An. coluzzii, An. gambiae s.s, An. arabiensis, An. moucheti and An. species ‘A’ increasing the number of Anopheles species known to be naturally infected by this endosymbiont. Molecular analysis suggests the presence of phylogenetically diverse novel strains, while qPCR and 16S rRNA sequencing indicates that Wolbachia is the dominant member of the microbiota in An. moucheti and An. species ‘A’. We found no evidence of Wolbachia/Asaia co-infections, and presence of these endosymbionts did not have significant effects on malaria prevalence. We discuss the importance of novel Wolbachia strains in Anopheles and potential implications for disease control.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)