Metarhizium spp., Cosmopolitan Insect-Pathogenic Fungi: Mycological aspects

Donald W. Roberts, Utah State University
Raymond J. St. Leger


Publisher Summary: The chapter focuses on mycological aspects of the genus Metarhizium. The genus includes several species, varieties within species, and individual isolates with broad ranges of physiological traits—including host range. The interactions of these fungi with their hosts, and the large literature on their use for pest control, largely define the scientific and popular concepts of Metarhizium spp. Fungi of the hyphomycete genus Metarhizium have been isolated from infected insects and soil. Although some isolates of these fungi have rather restricted host ranges, the group is better known for its ability to kill a wide spectrum of insects, including insects in at least seven orders. The common name for Metarhizium-induced disease is “green muscardine,” based on the encrustation of insect cadavers with green conidia. The rapid increase in research on Metarhizium, followed by sustained high scientific output, can be explained by several important worldwide attitude changes and the initiation of several promising Metarhizium-based pest-control and molecular-biology efforts.