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A Third Way for Entomophthoralean Fungi to Survive the Winter: Slow Disease Transmission between Individuals of the Hibernating Host

Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Thorvaldsensvej 40, DK 1871 Frederiksberg C., Denmark
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Insects 2013, 4(3), 392-403;
Received: 10 June 2013 / Revised: 4 July 2013 / Accepted: 9 July 2013 / Published: 23 July 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insect Pathology)
PDF [397 KB, uploaded 23 July 2013]


In temperate regions, insect pathogenic fungi face the challenge of surviving through the winter. Winter is a time when hosts are immobile, low in number or are present in a stage which is not susceptible to infection. Fungi from Entomophthoromycota have so far been known to survive the winter in two ways: either as (1) thick-walled resting spores released into environment from dead hosts, or as (2) structures inside the dead host (e.g., hyphal bodies). Here we report, from the Danish environment, a third way to survive the winter, namely a slow progression and transmission of Entomophthora schizophorae in adult dipteran Pollenia hosts that hibernate in clusters in unheated attics, sheltered areas outdoors (under bark etc.). Fungus-killed sporulating flies were observed outside very early and very late in the season. By sampling adults at the time of their emergence from hibernation in late winter/early spring we documented that the fungus was naturally prevalent and killed flies after a period of incubation. Experimentally we documented that even at the low temperature of 5 °C, the fungus was able to maintain itself in Pollenia cohorts for up to 90 days. From these observations the full winter cycle of this fungus is elucidated. The three types of winter survival are discussed in relation to fungus epidemic development. View Full-Text
Keywords: Entomophthora; Pollenia; winter survival; spores Entomophthora; Pollenia; winter survival; spores

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Eilenberg, J.; Thomsen, L.; Jensen, A.B. A Third Way for Entomophthoralean Fungi to Survive the Winter: Slow Disease Transmission between Individuals of the Hibernating Host. Insects 2013, 4, 392-403.

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