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Due to their abundance and ability to invade diverse environments, many arthropods have become pests of economic and health concern, especially in urban areas. Transcriptomic analyses of arthropod ovaries have provided insight into life history variation and fecundity, yet there are few studies in spiders despite their diversity within arthropods. Here, we generated a de novo ovarian transcriptome from 10 individuals of the western black widow spider (Latrodectus hesperus), a human health pest of high abundance in urban areas, to conduct comparative ovarian transcriptomic analyses. Biological processes enriched for metabolism—specifically purine, and thiamine metabolic pathways linked to oocyte development—were significantly abundant in L. hesperus. Functional and pathway annotations revealed overlap among diverse arachnid ovarian transcriptomes for highly-conserved genes and those linked to fecundity, such as oocyte maturation in vitellogenin and vitelline membrane outer layer proteins, hormones, and hormone receptors required for ovary development, and regulation of fertility-related genes. Comparative studies across arachnids are greatly needed to understand the evolutionary similarities of the spider ovary, and here, the identification of ovarian proteins in L. hesperus provides potential for understanding how increased fecundity is linked to the success of this urban pest.
© 2020 by the authors. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
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Publications from the VCU Center for Integrative Life Sciences Education