Sex-Specific Differences in Pathogen Susceptibility in Honey Bees (Apis mellifera)

Retschnig, Gina; Williams, Geoffrey R.; Mehmann, Marion M.; Yañez, Orlando; de Miranda, Joachim R.; Neumann, Peter (2014). Sex-Specific Differences in Pathogen Susceptibility in Honey Bees (Apis mellifera). PLoS ONE, 9(1), e85261. Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.pone.0085261

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Sex-related differences in susceptibility to pathogens are a common phenomenon in animals. In the eusocial Hymenoptera the two female castes, workers and queens, are diploid and males are haploid. The haploid susceptibility hypothesis predicts that haploid males are more susceptible to pathogen infections compared to females. Here we test this hypothesis using adult male (drone) and female (worker) honey bees (Apis mellifera), inoculated with the gut endoparasite Nosema ceranae and/or black queen cell virus (BQCV). These pathogens were chosen due to previously reported synergistic interactions between Nosema apis and BQCV. Our data do not support synergistic interactions between N. ceranae and BQCV and also suggest that BQCV has limited effect on both drone and worker health, regardless of the infection level. However, the data clearly show that, despite lower levels of N. ceranae spores in drones than in workers, Nosema-infected drones had both a higher mortality and a lower body mass than non-infected drones, across all treatment groups, while the mortality and body mass of worker bees were largely unaffected by N. ceranae infection, suggesting that drones are more susceptible to this pathogen than workers. In conclusion, the data reveal considerable sex-specific differences in pathogen susceptibility in honey bees and highlight the importance of ultimate measures for determining susceptibility, such as mortality and body quality, rather than mere infection levels

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH)
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Institute of Bee Health

UniBE Contributor:

Retschnig, Gina; Williams, Geoffrey Rhys; Yanez Amayo, Victor Orlando and Neumann, Peter

Subjects:

500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)
600 Technology > 630 Agriculture
500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology

ISSN:

1932-6203

Publisher:

Public Library of Science

Submitter:

Gina Retschnig

Date Deposited:

18 Mar 2015 11:16

Last Modified:

18 Mar 2015 11:16

Publisher DOI:

10.1371/journal.pone.0085261

PubMed ID:

24465518

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.64849

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/64849

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