Symbiotic Yeast Helps Longicorn Beetle Eat Wood

Even for insects, wood is a tough food source as it contains hard substances such as cellulose. To help make wood more palatable, some wood-feeding insects are assisted by symbiotic microorganisms that break down the components of wood into an edible form. A group from Nagoya University in Japan has isolated a symbiotic yeast from adults, larvae, and eggs of the Japanese longicorn beetle and identified specialized organs that store the yeast, allowing the beetles to break down the unpalatable components of wood. Their findings were published March 22, 2023 in PLoS ONE. The open-access article is titled “Yeast Associated with Flower Longicorn Beetle Leptura ochraceofasciata (Cerambycidae: Lepturinae), with Implication for Its Function in Symbiosis.”
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