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    In this study, we tested (1) whether non-North American gypsy moth strains are susceptible to North American isolates of Entomophaga maimaiga and (2) the potential for erosion in the efficacy of E. maimaiga in controlling gypsy moth. We used bioassays to assess the variability in virulence (measured as time to death) as well as fitness of the pathogen (measured as spore production) in four gypsy strains challenged with six E. maimaiga isolates, using host and pathogen strains originating from Asia, Europe, and North America. We found that all E. maimaiga isolates tested were pathogenic to all strains of Lyrnantria dispar, regardless of the geographical origin of the fungal isolate, with at least 86% mortality for all combinations of fungal isolate and gypsy moth strain. We therefore conclude that Asian gypsy moths are susceptible to North American strains of E. maimaiga. No significant interactions between fungal isolates and gypsy moth strains with regard to time to death were found, indicating that each fungal isolate had the same overall effect on all the gypsy moth strains tested. However, fungal isolates differed significantly with regard to virulence, with a Russian isolate being the slowest to kill gypsy moth (5.1 +/- 0.1 days) and a Japanese isolate being the overall fastest to kill its host (4.0 +/- 0.1 days). Fungal isolates also differed in fitness, with variability in types of spores produced. These differences in virulence and fitness were, however, not correlated with geographical origin of the fungal isolate. Gypsy moth strains had no or only little effect on fungal virulence and fitness. Based on our studies with laboratory-reared gypsy moth strains, erosion of successful control of gypsy moth by E. maimaiga seems unlikely.

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    Nielsen, Charlotte; Keena, Melody; Hajek, Ann E. 2005. Virulence and fitness of the fungal pathogen Entomophaga maimaiga in its host Lyrnantria dispar, for pathogen and host strains originating from Asia, Europe, and North America. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology. 89: 232-242.


    Lymantria dispar, Entomophaga maimaiga, bioassays, co-evolution, virulence, fitness

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