Data from: Microbiomes of a specialist caterpillar are consistent across different habitats but also resemble the local soil microbial communities

  • Sofia I. Fernandes Gomes (Creator)
  • Anna Kielak (Creator)
  • Emilia Hannula (Creator)
  • Robin Heinen (Creator)
  • R. Jongen (Creator)
  • Ivor Keesmaat (Creator)
  • Jon De Long (Creator)
  • T. Martijn Bezemer (Creator)



Insect-associated microorganisms can provide a wide range of benefits to their host, but insect dependency on these microbes varies greatly. The origin and functionality of insect microbiomes is not well understood. Many caterpillars can harbor symbionts in their gut that impact host metabolism, nutrient uptake and pathogen protection. Despite our lack of knowledge on the ecological factors driving microbiome assemblages of wild caterpillars, they seem to be highly variable and influenced by diet and environment. Several recent studies have shown that shoot-feeding caterpillars acquire part of their microbiome from the soil. Here, we examine microbiomes of a monophagous caterpillar (Tyria jacobaeae) collected from its natural host plant (Jacobaeae vulgaris) growing in three different environments: coastal dunes, natural inland grasslands and riverine grasslands, and compare the bacterial communities of the wild caterpillars to those of soil samples collected from underneath each of the host plants from which the caterpillars were collected.
Date made available01 Sept 2020

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