Functional Variation in Dipteran Gut Bacterial Communities in Relation to Their Diet, Life Cycle Stage and Habitat


True flies and mosquitos (Diptera) live in habitats and consume diets that pose specific demands on their gut bacterial communities (GBCs). Due to diet specializations, dipterans may have highly diverse and species-specific GBCs. Dipterans are also confronted with changes in habitat and food sources over their lifetime, especially during life history processes (molting, metamorphosis). This may prevent the development of a constant species- or diet-specific GBC. Some dipterans are vectors of several human pathogens (e.g., malaria), which interact with GBCs. In this review, we explore the dynamics that shape GBC composition in some Diptera species on the basis of published datasets of GBCs. We thereby focus on the effects of diet, habitats, and life cycle stages as sources of variation in GBC composition. The GBCs reported were more stage-specific than species- or diet-specific. Even though the presence of GBCs has a large impact on the performance of their hosts, the exact functions of GBCs and their interactions with other organisms are still largely unknown, mainly due to the low number of studies to date. Increasing our knowledge on dipteran GBCs will help to design pest management strategies for the reduction of insecticide resistance, as well as for human pathogen control.