Influence of Native and Exotic Plant Diet on the Gut Microbiome of the Gray’s Malayan Stick Insect, Lonchodes brevipes

Lim, YZ
Poh, YH
Lee, KC
Pointing, SB
Wainwright, BJ
Tan, EJ
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Journal Article
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Frontiers Media SA

Herbivorous insects require an active lignocellulolytic microbiome to process their diet. Stick insects (phasmids) are common in the tropics and display a cosmopolitan host plant feeding preference. The microbiomes of social insects are vertically transmitted to offspring, while for solitary species, such as phasmids, it has been assumed that microbiomes are acquired from their diet. This study reports the characterization of the gut microbiome for the Gray's Malayan stick insect, Lonchodes brevipes, reared on native and introduced species of host plants and compared to the microbiome of the host plant and surrounding soil to gain insight into possible sources of recruitment. Clear differences in the gut microbiome occurred between insects fed on native and exotic plant diets, and the native diet displayed a more species-rich fungal microbiome. While the findings suggest that phasmids may be capable of adapting their gut microbiome to changing diets, it is uncertain whether this may lead to any change in dietary efficiency or organismal fitness. Further insight in this regard may assist conservation and management decision-making.

Lonchodes brevipes , herbivores , host plant , insect microbiomes , phasmatodea , 3107 Microbiology , 31 Biological Sciences , Complementary and Integrative Health , Nutrition , 15 Life on Land , 0502 Environmental Science and Management , 0503 Soil Sciences , 0605 Microbiology , 3107 Microbiology , 3207 Medical microbiology
Frontiers in Microbiology, ISSN: 1664-302X (Print); 1664-302X (Online), Frontiers Media SA, 14, 1199187-. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2023.1199187
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