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Virulence of Entomopathogenic Fungi to Rhagoletis pomonella (Diptera: Tephritidae) and Interactions With Entomopathogenic Nematodes

Muhammad Usman, Sehrish Gulzar, Waqas Wakil, Shaohui Wu, Jaime C. Piñero, Tracy C. Leskey, Laura J. Nixon, Camila Oliveira-Hofman, Michael D. Toews, David Shapiro-Ilan
Journal of economic entomology 2020 v.113 no.6 pp. 2627-2633
Beauveria bassiana, Isaria fumosorosea, Metarhizium brunneum, Rhagoletis pomonella, Steinernema carpocapsae, Steinernema riobravis, biological control agents, biological insect control, entomopathogenic fungi, entomopathogenic nematodes, pupae, virulence
The objectives of this study were to quantify the virulence of four entomopathogenic fungal species to pupae of Rhagoletis pomonella (Walsh) (Diptera: Tephritidae) and to determine the potential to combine entomopathogenic fungi (EPFs) and entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) for biological control of this pest. The four species of EPFs included Beauveria bassiana (strain GHA), Metarhizium brunneum (strain F52), Isaria javanica (wf GA17), and Isaria fumosorosea (Apopka 97 strain). In laboratory assays, all fungi reduced adult emergence but there were no differences between fungal species. Isaria javanica and M. brunneum were examined further in a EPFs and EPNs bioassay that also included the EPNs Steinernema carpocapsae (ALL strain) and S. riobrave (355 strain). All nematodes and fungi were applied either alone or in combination (fungus + nematode). There were no differences between species within the same entomopathogen group (fungi and nematodes). However, the treatment with S. riobrave resulted in lower R. pomonella emergence than either fungal species. The combination of S. riobrave and I. javanica resulted in the lowest R. pomonella emergence (3%) at fourth-week interval, which was significantly lower than any of the single-agent applications, yet virulence of the other three combination treatments was not different from their respective nematode treatments applied alone. Additive interactions were detected for all fungus–nematode combinations. This study suggests that application of entomopathogenic nematodes and fungi could be an effective option to suppress R. pomonella populations.