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INSECT FUNGI

CLASSIFICATION OF FUNGI
Traditionally, fungi were placed in the plant kingdom
because they had cell walls, produced spores, and
were generally non-motile.
Actually, recent studies have shown that fungi are
more closely related to animals than to plants.
Fungi produce chitin, animals do, plants dont.
Fungi use glycogen for food storage, plants use
starch.
It became quite clear that fungi constitute an
independent group equal in rank to plants and
animals.
In 1969, Whittaker devised a 5-kingdom
system and establishing a separate
kingdom for the fungi. Animalia, Planta,
Fungi, Protista, Monera

More recent molecular taxonomic evidence


suggests that the Kingdom Fungi as
proposed by Whittaker was polyphyletic.

New kingdoms are being proposed and


groups are being shuffled around.
A sixth kingdom - Stramenopila - has been
split out of the Protista (Protoctista). It
includes flagellated autotrophs and
heterotrophs - The heterotrophs are said to
have lost their chloroplasts secondarily.
This group does include some insect
pathogens.

So there are three kingdoms that contain


fungi or fungi-like organisms.
1. Protoctista (Protista)
2. Stramenopila (Chromista)
3. Fungi (Mychota)
Characteristics of Fungi
(a) Organisms which lack chlorophyl and live as
saprophytes or parasites - Heterotrophs - obtain
nutrients by absorption.

(b) Cells have typical true nuclei - they are eukaryotic.

(c) Cell walls contain chitin, not cellulose

(d) Most are made up of hair-like filaments called


hyphae.

(e) Reproduction by means of spores - most fungi


have both asexual and sexual means of
reproduction.
Terms used in Mycology
(a) The body or thallus of the fungus is usually
composed of hyphae.

(b) Hypha - (pl.=hyphae) microscopic thread or


filament which branches in all directions.

(c)The protoplasm in hyphae may be continuous,


or it may be interrupted at regular intervals by
partitions or crosswalls called septa(sing. =
septum) Hyphae with these crosswalls are
called septate hyphae.

(d) Hyphae with no septa are called aseptate or


coenocytic hyphae. The nuclei in these hyphae
are scattered uniformly through the cytoplasm.
(e)The mass of hyphae which makes up the body of
the fungus is called the mycelium.

The mycelium generally originates as a short germ


tube originating from a germinating spore.

The mycelium tends to grow more or less equally in


all directions from a single point (when spore
lands on agar plate).

(f) Reproduction may be sexual or asexual. Most


fungi have both types.
Types of asexual reproduction include:

Fragmentation
Fission (forming daughter cells)
Budding
Production of asexual spores

Spores produced asexually may be borne in sporangia (a


sac-like structure). These spores are called
sporangiospores. Sporangiospores can be either
motile or non-motile. In lower fungi they are usually
motile and are called zoospores.

Asexual spores may also be produced at the tips or sides


of the hyphae. These are called conidia
(sing.=conidium) Hyphae which bear conidia are
called conidiophores.
Sexual reproduction involves the fusion of two nuclei.
There are many different types.

Three phases:
1. plasmogamy - union of two protoplasts
2. karyogamy - fusion of two nucleii
3. meiosis - reduces no. of chromosomes to the
haploid

Sexual reproduction in fungi involves the formation of


specialized spores. These have been given special
names - oospores, zygospores, ascospores,
basidiospores.
Generally, the asexual phase of the fungus
is the important one for colonization of the
species - production of large numbers of
individuals and repeated several times
during a season.

Spores formed in sexual reproduction may


be more resistant and be important in the
survival of the fungus during the winter.

The fact that many species may be found


in one phase or another greatly
complicates identification.
Teleomorph - used to describe the sexual
stage of a fungus

Anamorph - asexual stage of a fungus

Holomorph - used to describe the whole


fungus in all its facets.

With some fungi, only the anamorph is


known.
Phylum Zygomycota

Contains two Classes - Zygomycetes and


Trichomycetes (a group of fungi that are
ecologically and morphologically distinct from
all other fungi)

A. Class Zygomycetes
Characteristics
1. Principal characteristic: Production of thick-
walled resting spores called zygospores which
are formed by the fusion of two gametangia.
Class Zygomycetes (cont.)

2. Coenocytic mycelium

3. Absence of motile spores

4. Asexual reproduction usually by


sporangiospores.

5. Interestingly, classification based mainly on


the asexual reproductive phase.
Order Mucorales

One species - Sporodiniella umbellata -


causes epizootics in populations of
membracids (tree hoppers).

Associated with cocoa plants in Ecuador.


Order Entomophthorales

A group of biologically
interesting fungi best known
as the name implies, as insect
fungi.

However, many are saprobes,


some are algal parasites, and
one genus is parasitic on
ferns.

Some are facultative parasites


of dogs, horses, and humans.
Entomophthorales often have a very narrow
host range. The strict host specificity and
relatively rapid killing of hosts, have made this
group a focus of many biological control
studies. They are notable for the epizootics
they induce in populations of many insects.

Much remains to be learned about the


intricate life histories of the group, including
details of their associations with other
organisms in their natural habitats.
Characteristics

(a)Do not form multi-spored sporangia - form


single spores that are called conidia, but they
are actually one-spored sporangia or
sporangiola. Due to the common use of the
word, conidium, most mycology texts use this
term.
(b) Most noteworthy
characteristic. With
the exception of
one genus,
Massospora,
members of this
order are
distinguished from
all other members
of the Zygomycota
by having forcibly
discharged spores.
(c) Mycelium is not as extensive as with other
Zygomycota. In fact, most Entomophthorales
multiply vegetatively as protoplasts and/or hyphal
bodies after having invaded the host.
(d) Thick-walled resting spores are formed,
usually inside (but sometimes outside) the host.
These can be asexual azygospores, or sexual
zygospores formed by the fusion of two hyphal
bodies. Details of sexual reproduction are not
well known.
Representative
life cycle
Generalized life cycle:

(1) Vegetative growth - spore adheres to surface of


cuticle, germinates, and penetrates cuticle.
Mycelium forms immediately beneath cuticle and
releases fragments into the blood - these are called
hyphal bodies. These hyphal bodies multiply by
fission or budding. In some species vegetative
growth is by means of ameboid protoplasts which
circulate and multiply in the blood. Vegetative
growth continues until the body of the host is
completely filled and the insect dies. After the
insect dies the hyphal bodies send out tubes to the
surface of the insect - these tubes break through to
the outside and form conidiophores.
(2) Conidia - Conidia are formed on the
tips of these conidiophores. They are
formed as a bud on the tip of the
conidiophore. The bud enlarges as the
protoplasm flows from the conidiophore
into the spore. A cross-wall is then
formed, osmotic pressure builds up, and
the outer wall ruptures, discharging the
conidium violently into the air.
Size, shape, color, and nuclear number of
primary and secondary conidia are key
taxonomic features in separating species
of Entomophthorales.
Types of Conidia
(a) Primary conidia - conidia which are
produced on conidiophores on the host.
(b) Secondary conidia - conidia produced from
primary conidia
(1) Repetitional - one secondary from each
primary
(a) Replicative - same shape as
primary, but smaller. It is forcibly
discharged.
(b) Capillispore or capilliconidium -
produced on slender stalk. It is usually
a different shape and is not forcibly
discharged.
(2) Multiplicative conidia (microconidia) - many
small conidia discharged from a globose
primary conidium.
(3) Resting spores - Are thick-walled spores
which are resistant to harsh conditions. They
are usually formed internally. There are two
types.
(a) Zygospores - sexual - formed from
contents of two hyphal bodies.
(b) Azygospores - asexual - formed from
a single hyphal body.
(d) Classification of Entomophthorales
The old classification included only two
genera, Entomophthora and Massospora
The genus Entomophthora became too large -
approximately 150 species.
Several individuals have published revisions:
Batko - first one - Poland
Remaudiere and Keller - France
Humber - U.S.- Boyce Thompson
We will use Humbers classification
which includes 6 families and 26 genera
in the order Entomophthorales. Reference -
Mycotaxon 34: 441-460 (1989).
Representative Members of Entomophthorales

Family Entomophthoraceae
(1) Entomophthora muscae - conidia pointed on the
apex with a broad, flat papilla, 2-12 nuclei/conidium,
affecting muscoid flies.
Entomophthora muscae in laboratory colony
Entomophthora
muscae
(2) Entomophthora sp. - dolichopodid fly
Entomophthora sp. -
midges
(3) Entomophaga aulicae - large pyriform, multinucleate,
unitunicate conidia. 10 or more nuclei/conidium. On green
cloverrworms, Heliothis, velvetbean caterpillar and other leps.
Entomophaga
aulicae (cont.)
Entomophaga
aulicae - VBC
Entomophaga aulicae
resting spores in GCW
(4) Entomophaga grylli -
infects a variety of
grasshoppers
(5) Eryniopsis lampyridarum - first reported by
Thaxter, 1888, Culowee,NC. second, Clemson. primary
conidia elongate, cylindrical, 5-15 nuclei, forms
capillispores. Infects soldier beetles.
Eryniopsis lampyridarum
primary conidia
Eryniopsis lampyridarum
capilliconidiophore and
capilliconidium
(6) Furia virescens - found on leps. including Heliothis, loopers,
armyworms - conidia are obovoid, one nucleus/conidium,
bitunicate.
Furia virescens primary conidia
(7) Massospora sp. - conidia formed internally and are
not forcibly discharged. Best known species, M.
cicadina, parasitic on the 17-year cicada. Mycelial
growth is confined to the abdominal region where all
the tissue is destroyed.
Clumps of conidia are formed within the abdomen.
These are exposed when posterior segments begin to
drop off.
The cicada remains alive and continues to fly and crawl
about, scattering spores from the ruptured abdomen.
Resting spores (azygospores) are formed internally,
and have a variety of sculpturing patterns on exterior.
Soper used these resting spores to describe a number
of new species from museum specimens.
Steinkraus (Arkansas) has worked recently on this
fungus.
(8) Pandora gammae - on loopers, conidia and
resting spores in different hosts, elongate pyriform
conidia, one nucleus/conidium, bitunicate; resting
spores dark brown or black.
Pandora gammae dried
cadaver of conidial stage

Primary conidia
Pandora gammae
resting spore stage
Pandora gammae
resting spores
Records from an epizootic
of Pandora gammae in a
soybean field near the
Edisto REC
(9) Pandora neoaphidis - found locally on a number of
aphid species

Aphid on alfalfa
Pandora neoaphidis infecting cotton aphid
(10) Zoophthora radicans - conidia bullet-shaped, tapering to
bluntly-pointed apex, uninucleate, bitunicate; produce
capilliconidia; infects a wide variety of hosts, probably a species
complex. Found on aphids and diamondback moth.
(11) Zoophthora phytonomi - on alfalfa weevil, primary
conidia fusiform with collar on papilla, bitunicate, one
nucleus/conidium, may form capillispores, resting spores
dark.
Zoophthora
phytonomi conidial
stage

Conidia
Zoophthora phytonomi
resting spore stage
Zoophthora phytonomi resting spores
Family Ancylistaceae
(1) Conidiobolus coronatus - large multinucleate
globose primary conidia, also forms microconidia and
villose conidia.
Conidiobolus coronatus villose conidium
Family Neozygitaceae

(1) Neozygites floridanum - infects spider mites.


primary conidia spherical with blunt papilla, 4-8
nuclei, forms capilliconidia, resting spores dark.
Neozygites floridanum
Vegetative structures
Mummified spider mite infected with Neozygites floridanum
Neozygites floridanum
Formation of conidiophore
Neozygites floridanum production of primary conidia
Neozygites floridanum
formation of capillispores
Neozygites floridanum circadium cycle matched with host
and environmental conditions
1. Host dies in late afternoon, early evening
2. Primary conidia are produced during high humidity
conditions in the evening and early morning.
3. Primary conidia will not survive low humidity conditions
during the day.
4. During the first night, primary conidia produce
capillispores.
5. Capillispores can survive long periods of low humidity.
6. Spider mites are active during the daylight hours.
7. As mites move around the leaf surface, they pick up
capillispores which will germinate and infect the mite the
following evening.
N. floridanum resting spores are formed at the end of the
epizootic
(2) Neozygites fresenii - found on a variety of aphid
species; valuable regulating agent in cotton aphid
populations.
(3) Neozygites parvispora - found on a variety of thrips
species; we have seen this species on western flower
thrips on cotton.
Entomophaga aulicae showing nuclei in coenocytic
mycelium and developing resting spores