Insects are extremely versatile in exploiting a large range of nutritional niches. This is not so much the result of their metabolic
flexibility but heavily depends on intimate relationships between insects and associated endosymbionts. Gut bacterial assemblages
play a fundamental role in making the plant tissue edible for the insect and promote adaptation between phytophagous insects and
host plants. This project focuses on the relationships between insect endosymbiont diversity and host plant adaptation in tephritid
fruit flies (Diptera). We aim at describing and comparing gut microbial assemblages across closely related fruit flies with diverse
feeding strategies. This will provide the necessary baseline data for innovative research on relationship between insect
endosymbionts, host range spectrum, and metabolic processes. We propose to use metagenomics to sample with unprecedented
detail the gut bacterial assemblages of these vvidespread agricultural pests. V\'hile the Royal 1'11useun1 for Central Africa (Rtv1CA) has
extensive knowledge on fruit fly systematics and phylogeny, the Laboratory of Microbiology at Ghent University (GU), who is also
in charge of the BELSPO financed BCCM/LMG Bacteria Collection, has solid experience in the study of microbial diversity.
Bringing these two fields of expertise together, while exploring new technologies, is a synergetic collaboration that aims at
providing a significant contribution to research on insect pests.