The Bacteroidetes Blattabacterium and Sulcia as Primary Endosymbionts of Arthropods

Matteo Montagna, Luciano Sacchi, Nathan Lo, Emanuela Clementi, Daniele Daffonchio, Alberto Alma, Davide Sassera, Claudio Bandi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The study of intracellular microorganisms harbored by arthropods, particularly by insects, began in the second half of the nineteenth century, following the wider use of light microscopy. It was only at the end of the century, however, that Blochmann (1887) observed peculiar structures in cells of the fat body of cockroaches, cells that are now known as bacteriocytes (Sacchi et al. 1988). Bacteriocytes are cells specialized to harbor obligatory beneficial symbionts in insects. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Karel Sulc (1910, 1924) described aggregations of bacteriocytes (bacteriomes) in the body cavity of cicads, while Carlo Jucci (1932) observed bacteriocytes in the fat body of the termite Mastotermes darwiniensis. Jucci recognized the similarity between this type of cell in M. darwiniensis and those present in the fat body of cockcroaches. These three scientists (Blochmann, Sulc, and Jucci) thus reported the first observations of the bacterial symbionts that are now known to belong to the Bacteroidetes phylum. The work of Blochmann, Sulc, and Jucci is reviewed in detail in Buchner (1965).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationManipulative Tenants
Subtitle of host publicationBacteria Associated with Arthropods
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781439827505
ISBN (Print)9781439827499
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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