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Open AccessArticle

Effects of Endophytic Entomopathogenic Ascomycetes on the Life-History Traits of Aphis gossypii Glover and Its Interactions with Melon Plants

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Departamento de Agronomía, Universidad de Córdoba, ETSIAM, Campus Rabanales, Edificio C4 Celestino Mutis, E-14071 Córdoba, Spain
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IFAPA Ctr Venta del Llano, Ctra Bailen Motril, Km 18-5, 23620 Jaen, Spain
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Insects 2019, 10(6), 165; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects10060165
Received: 16 May 2019 / Revised: 1 June 2019 / Accepted: 5 June 2019 / Published: 10 June 2019
Entomopathogenic fungi are sprayed commercially for aphid control in greenhouses. Recently, their ability to grow endophytically within plants was discovered, offering the opportunity for systemic biological control. Endophytic colonization of host plants could also influence life-table parameters and behavior of herbivores. We investigated lethal and pre-mortality effects of Beauveria bassiana and Metarhizium brunneum on Aphis gossypii; aphids either received inoculum while feeding on recently sprayed leaves (surface inoculum and endophytically-colonized) or while feeding on unsprayed but endophytically-colonized leaves. We used choice assays to identify any preferences for endophytically-colonized or control plants. Volatile emissions from endophytically-colonized plants and control plants were also compared. Aphid mortality rates ranged between 48.2 and 56.9% on sprayed leaves, and between 37.7 and 50.0 on endophytically-colonized leaves. There was a significant effect of endophytic colonization on the rate of nymph production, but this did not result in an overall increase in the aphid population. Endophytic colonization did not influence host-plant selection even though there were qualitative and quantitative differences in the blend of volatiles released by endophytically-colonized and control plants. Although endophytic colonization did not change herbivore behavior, plants still benefit via indirect defense, resistance to plant pathogens or abiotic stress tolerance. View Full-Text
Keywords: Biological control; Beauveria bassiana; Metarhizium brunneum; endophyte; pre-mortality effects; tritrophic interactions Biological control; Beauveria bassiana; Metarhizium brunneum; endophyte; pre-mortality effects; tritrophic interactions
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González-Mas, N.; Sánchez-Ortiz, A.; Valverde-García, P.; Quesada-Moraga, E. Effects of Endophytic Entomopathogenic Ascomycetes on the Life-History Traits of Aphis gossypii Glover and Its Interactions with Melon Plants. Insects 2019, 10, 165.

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