The larvae of beewolf digger wasps are protected from pathogenic microbes thanks to bacterial symbionts.
"Beewolf digger wasps cultivate specific symbiotic bacteria (Streptomyces spp.) that are incorporated into the larval cocoon for protection against pathogens. We identified the molecular basis of this protective symbiosis in the natural context and demonstrate that the bacteria produce a 'cocktail' of nine antibiotic substances. The complementary action of all symbiont-produced antibiotics confers a potent antimicrobial defense for the wasp larvae that parallels the 'combination prophylaxis' known from human medicine." (Kroiss et al. 2010:261)
Learn more about this functional adaptation.
- 2010. Beewolves protect their offspring with antibiotics; digger wasp larvae use bacteria against infections. Science Daily [Internet],
- Kroiss J; Kaltenpoth M; Schneider B; Schwinger M; Hertweck C; Maddula RK; Strohm E; Svatoš A. 2010. Symbiotic streptomycetes provide antibiotic combination prophylaxis for wasp offspring. Nature Chemical Biology. 6: 261 - 263.
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