Entomopathogenic fungi, Metarhizium anisopliae and Beauveria bassiana reduce the survival of Xenopsylla brasiliensis larvae (Siphonaptera: Pulicidae)


Background: Entomopathogenic fungi, particularly those belonging to the genera Metarhizium and Beauveria have shown great promise as arthropod vector control tools. These agents, however, have not been evaluated against flea vectors of plague. Findings: A 3-h exposure to the fungi coated paper at a concentration of 2 × 108 conidia m-2 infected >90% of flea larvae cadavers in the treatment groups. The infection reduced the survival of larvae that had been exposed to fungus relative to controls. The daily risk of dying was four- and over three-fold greater in larvae exposed to M. anisopliae (HR = 4, p<0.001) and B. bassiana (HR = 3.5, p<0.001) respectively. Both fungi can successfully infect and kill larvae of X. brasiliensis with a pooled median survival time (MST±SE) of 2±0.31 days post-exposure. Conclusion: These findings justify further research to investigate the bio-control potential of entomopathogenic fungi against fleas.



Entomopathogenic fungi, Metarhizium anisopliae, Xenopsylla brasiliensis, Beauveria bassiana