The effects of single and mixed infections with Beauveria bassiana (EABb 90/2-Dm) and Metarhizium acridum (IMI 330189) strains on survival, feeding and reproduction of thermoregulating Dociostaurus maroccanus were evaluated. Adult locusts (2–3 days post fledging) were treated with low dosages of both fungal pathogens alone and in mixture (total dosage for single treatments and combinations = 1 × 10 2 and 1 × 10 3 spores per insect). M. acridum IMI 330189 was more virulent than B. bassiana EABb 90/2-Dm at both dosages. In the mixed infections, in which half of the infective units of the more virulent pathogen were replaced by the less virulent pathogen, the analysis of the cumulative insect mortality after 30 days suggested additive interaction in the lethal effects between the two strains. All fungal treatments, except EABb 90/2-Dm at 1 × 10 2 spores per insect showed reduction in per capita feeding, as indicated by fecal production per insect per day when insects were maintained at 27 ± 2 °C (32–51% of reduction compared with the control); but only IMI 330189 caused significant reduction in per capita feeding (50%) when those insects were allowed to thermoregulate. Both strains and their mixtures caused a significant reduction of locust fecundity, with a 21–53% reduction in the number of egg-pods per female, and 30–65% reduction in the number of fertile eggs per female. In both sublethal effects (feeding and fecundity) a potential antagonistic interaction between the fungal strains was detected. Locust fecundity (egg-pods per female) and per capita feeding were positively correlated (r = 0.783). Implications of these findings on the potential use of both strains to control D. maroccanus populations are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics