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Insects as Carriers of Virulent and Cytoplasmic Hypovirulent Isolates of the Chestnut Blight Fungus

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We conducted surveys of insects associated with American chestnut stems and chestnut blight cankers, and of the abilities of these insects to carry inoculum of virulent and cytoplasmically hypovirulent isolates of Endothia parasitica (Murrill) Anderson. Chestnut stems and blight cankers were found to have a large, diverse insect fauna; the majority of 495 insect species captured were from 'families of Coleoptera and Diptera that spend part or all of their life cycles associated with woody tissue or decaying vegetation. E. parasitica was isolated from 69 insect species (mostly Coleoptera) representing four orders. Species of insects capable of carrying E. parasitica were present throughout the growing season. Eleven isolates of E. parasitica obtained from insects exhibited abnormal in vitro morphology. Double-stranded (ds)-RNA was detected in two of these. Three other isolates obtained from insect traps also contained detectable ds-RNA. Old blight cankers colonized by Ceratocystis microspora and C. eucastaneae were more attractive to insects than were young blight cankers without Ceratocystis or healthy bark. Furthermore, attachment of Ceratocystisladen blighted bark to healthy chestnut stems and plastic posts increased the attractiveness of these substrates to insects compared with that observed on controls. These results suggest that Ceratocystis contributes to the increased attractiveness of old blight cankers to insects.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 1984

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  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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