Impact of a Nematode-parasitic Fungus on the Effectiveness of Entomopathogenic Nematodes

Patricia Timper, Harry K. Kaya


The impact of the nematode-parasitic fungus Hirsutella rhossiliensis on the effectiveness of Steinernema carpocapsae, S. glaseri, and Heterorhabditis bacteriophora against Galleria mellonella larvae was assessed in the laboratory. The presence of Hirsutella conidia on the third-stage (J3) cuticle of S. carpocapsae and H. bacteriophora interfered with infection of insect larvae. Conidia on the J3 cuticle of S. glaseri and on the ensheathing second-stage cuticle of H. bacteriophora did not reduce the nematodes' ability to infect larvae. The LD[sub5][sub0] values for S. carpocapsae, S. glaseri, and H. bacteriophora in sand containing H. rhossiliensis were not different from those in sterilized sand when Galleria larvae were added at the same time as the nematodes. However, when Galleria larvae were added 3 days after the nematodes, the LD[sub5][sub0] of S. glaseri was higher in Hirsutella-infested sand than in sterilized sand, whereas the LD[sub5][sub0] of H. bacteriophora was the same in infested and sterilized sand. Although the LD[sub5][sub0] of S. carpocapsae was much higher in Hirsutella-infested sand than in sterilized sand, the data were too variable to detect a significant difference. These data suggest that H. bacteriophora may be more effective than Steinernema species at reducing insect pests in habitats with abundant nematode-parasitic fungi. Key words: biological control, entomopathogenic nematode, fungus, Heterorhabditis, Hirsutella rhossiliensis, nematode, nematophagous fungus, Steinernema.

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