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Invasion of the pathogenic fungus Metarhizium anisopliae through the guts of germfree desert locusts, Schistocerca gregaria

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>10/1986
Issue number1
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)59-66
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Less than 1% of an ingested inoculum of the pathogenic fungus Metarhizium anisopliae was retained for long enough (ca. 24 h) in the gut of the desert locust, Schistocerca gregaria, for germination and penetration to have occurred. The residual inoculum did not initiate an infection in guts of fed conventional or axenic locusts. However, symptoms of mycosis (hyphal bodies in the haemolymph, fungal penetration of the hindgut intima and epithelium, tetanic paralysis) were consistently observed in axenic but not conventional locusts which were starved post-inoculation.
It is concluded that the antifungal toxin produced by the gut bacteria defends the desert locust against gut invasion by Metarhizium anisopliae during periods of starvation when the physical defences, prominent in fed insects, are less apparent.