Strange facts about soldier beetles infected with the poorly known fungal pathogen, Eryniopsis lampyridarum
Donald Steinkraus, email@example.com, University of Arkansas, Department of Entomology, 319 Agriculture Building, Fayetteville, AR
Large numbers of soldier beetle adults, Chauliognathus pennsylvanicus, were found infected by the fungus Eryniopsis lampyridarum (Entomophthorales) in Arkansas during October. The beetles were found on flowering asters (Aster pilosus). When infected beetles died they tightly clamped their mandibles into the plant. Live beetles (n=451) were captured on the flowers and held for determination of prevalence which was 20%. Fifty-six males and 34 females died from E. lampyridarum infections. Conidia were produced from 57% of the infected beetles and 23% produced resting spores. The sequenced of morphological changes in the hosts after death from the fungus were observed hourly. By an unknown mechanism the fungus causes the dead beetles to raise their elytra between 2400 and 0700 hours during the night. Unusual features of this fungus and its sporulation will be discussed.
Species 1: Coleoptera Cantharidae Chauliognathuspennsylvanicus (soldier beetle) Species 2: Entomophthorales Entomophthoraceae Eryniopsislampyridarum Keywords: behavior, prevalence