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This content will become publicly available on December 1, 2023

Title: Effects of Wolbachia elimination and B-vitamin supplementation on bed bug development and reproduction
Abstract Obligate blood feeders, such as Cimex lectularius (common bed bug), have symbiotic associations with nutritional endosymbionts that produce B-vitamins. To quantify the symbiont’s contribution to host fitness in these obligate mutualisms, the symbiont must be eliminated and its absence rigorously confirmed. We developed and validated procedures for complete elimination of Wolbachia ( Wb ) in bed bugs and quantified development and reproduction in bed bugs with and without Wb and with and without B-vitamins supplementation. Aposymbiotic bed bugs had slower nymphal development, reduced adult survivorship, smaller adult size, fewer eggs per female, and lower hatch rate than bed bugs that harbored Wb . In aposymbiotic bed bugs that were fed B-vitamins-supplemented blood, nymph development time, adult survivorship and hatch rate recovered to control levels, but adult size and egg number only partially recovered. These results underscore the nutritional dependence of bed bugs on their Wb symbiont and suggest that Wb may provide additional nutritional benefits beyond the B-vitamin mix that we investigated.
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Scientific Reports
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National Science Foundation
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