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Journal of Invertebrate Pathology
Vol. 108, No.
1, 2011; Pages: 46 - 51

Process of infection of armored scale insects (Diaspididae) by an entomopathogenic Cosmospora sp.

Nicola Mauchline, Ian Hallett, Garry Hill, Seona Casonato

The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited, 412 No. 1 Road, RD2, Te Puke, New Zealand.

Abstract

Several species in the fungal genus Cosmospora (synonym Nectria) (anamorph Fusarium) are specialist entomopathogens of armored scale insects (Diaspididae), known to cause periodic epizootics in host populations. Inconsistent mortality rates recorded under laboratory conditions prompted a study into the process of infection of armored scale insects by this fungus. Scale insect mortality following exposure to a Cosmospora sp. (Culture Collection Number: CC89) from New Zealand was related to insect age, with reproductively mature insects having a significantly higher infection rate than immature insects. Examination using scanning electron microscopy found no evidence that the fungus penetrated directly through the wax test (cap) of the scale insect or through the un-lifted interface between the test and the substrate on which the insect resided. However, fungal hyphae were observed growing beneath the test when the test of the reproductively mature insect lifted away from the substrate for the purpose of releasing crawlers, the mobile pre-settled juveniles. Once the hyphae of CC89 advanced under the test, germ-tubes readily penetrated the insect body through a number of natural openings (e.g. spiracles, vulva, stylet), with mycosis observed within seven days after inoculation. Direct penetration through the cuticle of the scale insect was not observed.

Keywords: Cosmospora; Fusarium; Diaspididae; Entomopathogen; Kiwifruit; New Zealand


 

 

 
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