Cloned DNA Probes Distinguish Endemic and Exotic Entomophaga Grylli Fungal Pathotype Infections in Grasshopper Life Stages

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Molecular Ecology





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Entomophaga grylli is a fungal pathogen of grasshoppers and at least three pathotypes are recognized world-wide. Pathotypes 1 and 2 are endemic to North America while the Australian pathotype 3 had been released into two field sites in North Dakota between 1989 and 1991. Grasshoppers were collected over the summer at the field sites in 1992 and assessed for pathotype infection by cloned DNA probe analysis. The three most predominant grasshopper species that were infected (Melanoplus sanguinipes, M. bivittatus and Camnula pellucida) were assessed for pathotype infection with respect to their life stages (nymphal instars and adult males and females). Pathotype 1 predominantly infected grasshoppers in the subfamilies Oedipodinae and Gomphocerinae and pathotype 2 predominantly infected grasshoppers in the subfamily Melanoplinae. Early-instar M. sanguinipes and M. bivittatus had higher pathotype 2 infection frequencies, while late-instar and adult C. pellucida had higher pathotype 1 infection frequencies. Cross-infection by the pathotypes did occur in up to 3% of the individuals, on a per species basis, and primarily in later instar and adult grasshoppers. Pathotype 3 infections occurred in later instar and adults of the three grasshopper species. Infection of grasshoppers by E. grylli pathotypes is discussed with reference to the fungal life cycles.

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