Publication details

The interspecific variability of ladybird immunity



Year of publication 2020
Type Conference abstract
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Description The ladybird family (Coccinellidae) consists of more than 6,000 species living worldwide. Species differ in body size, colour, invasiveness and preferred food sources. Previous studies indicate the existence of interspecific difference in the effectivity of ladybird immune systems, however only very limited number of species has been compared. The aim of our study is to compare immune reactions of 24 ladybird species which occur especially in European region. The determined immune parameters, specifically the concentration of circulating haemocytes, antimicrobial activity against Gram-negative (Escherichia coli) and Gram-positive (Micrococcus luteus) bacteria, were compared with fundamental physiological parameter, the total concentration of proteins in haemolymph. Differences among ladybird species are discussed with respect to species life history, invasiveness and phylogeny. We observed that the haemolymph of species from genera Harmonia, Ceratomegilla and Hippodamia, which belong to one common clade, has very strong antimicrobial activity. The haemolymph of other species like seven-spot ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata) or orange ladybird (Halyzia sedecimguttata) showed intermediate level of activity; however, in many other species the antimicrobial activity against tested bacteria was not detectable. Species with a stronger immune system could have the advantage in colonization of new habitats and they are predicted to be invasive, however our results does not completely support this hypothesis. Interestingly, the three above-mentioned genera of ladybirds with strong immune activity had the lower concentration of proteins in haemolymph (50-80 mg/ml) than the most of other species in which the protein concentration ranged among 100-250 mg/ml. The results suggest that non-protein components present in haemolymph of Harmonia and related species act on a large scale in a fight against the pathogens.

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