Transmission of Metarhizium anisopliae and Beauveria bassiana to adults of Kuschelorhynchus macadamiae (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) from infected adults and conidiated cadavers

Kim Khuy Khun, Gavin J. Ash, Mark M. Stevens, Ruth K. Huwer, Bree A.L. Wilson

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Kuschelorhynchus macadamiae is a major pest of macadamias in Australia, causing yield losses of up to 15%. Our previous studies have shown the weevil is susceptible to Beauveria bassiana and Metarhizium anisopliae. The aim of this study was to investigate horizontal transmission of both fungal species to healthy weevils from both infected adults and weevil cadavers. In a confined environment the mortality of healthy adults caused by the transmission of conidia from live fungus-infected adults was < 50%. Under similar experimental conditions, the mortality of healthy adults reached 100% when exposed to conidiated cadavers. However, when conidiated cadavers were used in more spacious environments (insect cages), the mortality of adults was < 80%. Using scanning electron microscopy, it was observed that all healthy adults had conidia attached to all external parts of the body. This suggests that although the conidia were readily transferred to the adults, the lower mortality in the larger insect cages could be the result of an unfavourable environmental factor such as low humidity. The presence of conidia attached to all the adults indicated that they did not show any discriminatory behaviour such as avoidance of conidiated cadavers infected by these two fungal species. The results from this study show that there is potential for enhanced control of adult K. macadamiae via transmission from either fungus-infected adults or conidiated cadavers and this could strengthen sustainable pest management in macadamias.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2188
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Jan 2021


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