As part of the USDA/ARS "Operation Fullstop" against the Formosan subterranean termite Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki, live termites of several species including C. formosanus were collected from 155 urban and non-urban termitaries in China, Malaysia and La Réunion island. Thousands of termites were cooled until dead, placed on chloramphenicol-treated liquid agar and observed for the emergence of pathogenic fungi, nematodes and bacteria. Hyphomycete fungi Beauvaria spp., Metarhizium spp. and Paecilomyces spp. were recovered from apparently healthy individuals. These fungi were isolated from the cadavers and plated on to SDAY agar. The resulting conidia were then used to treat live C. formosanus, and high mortality was observed with some isolates. Nematodes and bacteria were isolated and are being prepared for bioassay tests. These results show that under field conditions and despite the known efficient grooming behavior of termites pathogens are present in termitaries and could play a significant role in termite ecology. Future work will be directed towards field application of the most efficacious pathogens against Coptotermes species in La Réunion and Indonesia.
Species 1: Isoptera Rhinotermitidae Coptotermes formosanus (Formosan subterranean termite)
Keywords: entomopathogen, Hyphomycete
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