Fruit host-dependent fungal communities in the microbiome of wild Queensland fruit fly larvae

Rajib Majumder*, Brodie Sutcliffe, Phillip W. Taylor, Toni A. Chapman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)


Bactrocera tryoni (Froggatt), the Queensland fruit fly (Qfly), is a highly polyphagous tephritid fly that is widespread in Eastern Australia. Qfly physiology is closely linked with its fungal associates, with particular relationship between Qfly nutrition and yeast or yeast-like fungi. Despite animal-associated fungi typically occurring in multi-species communities, Qfly studies have predominately involved the culture and characterisation of single fungal isolates. Further, only two studies have investigated the fungal communities associated with Qfly, and both have used culture-dependant techniques that overlook non-culturable fungi and hence under-represent, and provide a biased interpretation of, the overall fungal community. In order to explore a potentially hidden fungal diversity and complexity within the Qfly mycobiome, we used culture-independent, high-throughput Illumina sequencing techniques to comprehensively, and holistically characterized the fungal community of Qfly larvae and overcome the culture bias. We collected larvae from a range of fruit hosts along the east coast of Australia, and all had a mycobiome dominated by ascomycetes. The most abundant fungal taxa belonged to the genera Pichia (43%), Candida (20%), Hanseniaspora (10%), Zygosaccharomyces (11%) and Penicillium (7%). We also characterized the fungal communities of fruit hosts, and found a strong degree of overlap between larvae and fruit host communities, suggesting that these communities are intimately inter-connected. Our data suggests that larval fungal communities are acquired from surrounding fruit flesh. It is likely that the physiological benefits of Qfly exposure to fungal communities is primarily due to consumption of these fungi, not through syntrophy/symbiosis between fungi and insect ‘host’.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16550
Number of pages12
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Oct 2020

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Copyright the Author(s) 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


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