Mycophagous Grazing and Food Preference of Proisotoma minuta (Collembola: Isotomidae) and Onychiurus encarpatus (Collembola: Onychiuridae)

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Fungus-feeding Collembola have been cited as potential biological control agents for suppression of plant pathogenic fungi and root diseases. However, their interactions with saprophytic fungi, which also are used as disease control agents, have not been determined. In laboratory tests, two species of mycophagous Collembola, Proisotoma minuta Tullberg and Onychiurus encarpatus Denis, from the rhizosphere of cotton plants grazed preferentially on colonies of the plant pathogen Rhizoctonia solani Kühn rather than on colonies of known plant disease control agents Gliocladium virens Miller et aI., Trichoderma harzianum Rifai, and Laetisaria arvalis Burdsall. Feeding on L. arvalis restricted egg production by both insect species, whereas high egg production was associated with grazing on R. solani. High mortality rates for both insect species occurred on sporulating cultures of G. virens and T. harzianum, suggesting toxic effects of fungal metabolites or direct parasitism of insects by the fungi. The insect-fungus interactions observed in this study are viewed as potentially favorable for biological control of R. solani.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 1989

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