Home > Research > Datasets > Data from: Nectar bacteria affect life history ...
View graph of relations

Data from: Nectar bacteria affect life history of a generalist aphid parasitoid by altering nectar chemistry


  • Marijke Lenaerts (Creator)
  • Tim Goelen (Creator)
  • Caro Paulussen (Creator)
  • Beatriz Herrera-Malaver (Creator)
  • Jan Steensels (Creator)
  • Wim Van Den Ende (Creator)
  • Kevin Verstrepen (Creator)
  • Hans Jacquemyn (Creator)
  • Bart Lievens (Creator)
  • Felix Wackers (Creator)


1. Nectar is a crucial energy resource that strongly mediates the interactions between plants and animal pollinators or plant defenders. Previous research has shown that nectar is commonly colonized by microorganisms, most commonly bacteria and yeasts, which can have a strong impact on nectar chemistry. However, at present little is known about the effects of microorganisms on the fitness of animals feeding on nectar. 2. We used three nectar bacteria representing different metabolic groups (Asaia sp., Lactococcus sp. and Rosenbergiella sp.) and the common generalist aphid parasitoid Aphidius ervi (Haliday) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) to test the hypothesis that different nectar-dwelling bacteria affect nectar consumption and insect longevity differently by altering the chemistry of nectar. 3. Bacteria significantly affected nectar chemistry by altering its acidity, sugar and amino acids composition/concentration and by adding compounds synthesized by the microbes. Although inoculation with bacteria did not affect nectar consumption, a significant difference in insect longevity was observed. The impact on longevity was species specific, with Lactococcus being beneficial and Asaia having a detrimental effect. 4. Bacteria have a strong impact on nectar chemistry and changes in nectar chemistry may not only influence the foraging behavior of flower-visiting animals and impact on plant fitness, but also influence the fitness of nectar-consuming organisms. As effects were species dependent, changes in nectar chemistry induced by different bacteria may have contrasting effects on the interactions between plants and insects. It is therefore essential to know how different microbes alter nectar chemistry to understand the relationships between plants, nectar-inhabiting microbes and nectar-consuming animals.
Date made available2018

Contact person