Environmental variation can have profound and direct effects on fitness, fecundity, and host symbiont interactions. Replication rates of microbes within arthropod hosts, for example, are correlated with incubation temperature but less is known about the influence of host-symbiont dynamics on environmental preference. Hence, we conducted thermal preference (Tp) assays and tested if infection status and genetic variation in endosymbiont bacterium Wolbachia affected temperature choice of Drosophila melanogaster. We demonstrate that isogenic flies infected with Wolbachia preferred lower temperatures compared to uninfected Drosophila. Moreover, Tp varied with respect to three investigated Wolbachia variants (wMel, wMelCS and wMelPop). While uninfected individuals preferred 24.4°C, we found significant shifts of - 1.2°C in wMel- and -4°C in flies infected either with wMelCS or wMelPop. We, therefore, postulate that Wolbachia-associated Tp variation within a host species might represent a behavioral accommodation to host-symbiont interactions and trigger behavioral self medication and bacterial titer regulation by the host.
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Truitt, Amy Michelle; Kapun, Martin; Kaur, Rupinder; and Miller, Wolfgang J., "Wolbachia Modifies Thermal Reference in Drosophila Melanogaster" (2018). Environmental Science and Management Faculty Publications and Presentations. 278.