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Disease prevalence and transmission of Microsporidium phytoseiuli infecting the predatory mite, Phytoseiulus persimilis (Acari: Phytoseiidae)


, : Disease prevalence and transmission of Microsporidium phytoseiuli infecting the predatory mite, Phytoseiulus persimilis (Acari: Phytoseiidae). Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 77(2): 114-119

Isolated colonies of the predatory mite, Phytoseiulus persimilis, were used to gain information regarding prevalence and transmission of Microsporidium phytoseiuli. Two colonies of P. persimilis were reared on spider mite (Tetranychus urticae)-infested bean plants in isolated cages. Disease prevalence of predators from Colony 1 remained relatively low (between 0 and 15%) over 57 weeks of observation whereas disease prevalence of predators from Colony 2 increased over 3 months (from 12 to 100%). Disease prevalence among predators from Colony 1 had increased to 100% 2 months after weekly sampling had ceased for this colony and periodic sampling confirmed that disease prevalence among individuals of both colonies remained at 100%. Microsporidian spores were not detected in randomly chosen samples of T. urticae prey mites that were removed and examined biweekly during this period. Although numerous microsporidian spores were observed in smear preparations of fecal pellets examined by light microscopy, spores were not observed on leaf surfaces or predator feces when examined by SEM. The latter appeared as intact aggregates composed of numerous dumbbell-shaped crystals and it is unlikely that spores are liberated from intact fecal pellets onto leaf surfaces. Vertical transmission of M. phytoseiuli was 100%; horizontal transmission was low (14.3%) and occurred only when immature P. persimilis were permitted to develop in contact with infected immature and adult predators. The mean number of eggs produced per mated pair was highest when uninfected females were mated with uninfected males (63.2 eggs per mated pair). Although mean egg production decreased when one or both parents were infected, not all differences were significant. Male predatory mites did not contribute to infection of their progeny. Results suggest that routine examination of P. persimilis for microsporidian spores is essential for the management of M. phytoseiuli within P. persimilis colonies. Low disease prevalence and lack of obvious disease signs or symptoms, as in the case of M. phytoseiuli, increase the probability that these pathogens will escape notice unless individuals are routinely examined for pathogens.

Accession: 003408278

PMID: 11273691

DOI: 10.1006/jipa.2001.5008

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Related references

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