Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Influence of Elytral Colour Pattern, Size, and Sex of Harmonia axyridis (Coleoptera, Coccinellidae) on Parasite Prevalence and Intensity of Hesperomyces virescens (Ascomycota, Laboulbeniales)

Version 1 : Received: 20 May 2018 / Approved: 21 May 2018 / Online: 21 May 2018 (11:41:07 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Haelewaters, D.; Hiller, T.; Gorczak, M.; Pfister, D.H. Influence of Elytral Colour Pattern, Size, and Sex of Harmonia axyridis (Coleoptera, Coccinellidae) on Parasite Prevalence and Intensity of Hesperomyces virescens (Ascomycota, Laboulbeniales). Insects 2018, 9, 67. Haelewaters, D.; Hiller, T.; Gorczak, M.; Pfister, D.H. Influence of Elytral Colour Pattern, Size, and Sex of Harmonia axyridis (Coleoptera, Coccinellidae) on Parasite Prevalence and Intensity of Hesperomyces virescens (Ascomycota, Laboulbeniales). Insects 2018, 9, 67.

Journal reference: Insects 2018, 9, 67
DOI: 10.3390/insects9020067

Abstract

Harmonia axyridis is an invasive ladybird (Coleoptera, Coccinellidae) with the potential to outcompete native ladybird species in its invasive distribution area. It was introduced as a biological control agent in many countries but has also spread unintentionally in many others. Hesperomyces virescens (Ascomycota, Laboulbeniales) is a minute (200–400 µm in size) biotrophic fungus that infects over 30 species of ladybirds. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether elytral colour pattern, size, and sex of Ha. axyridis affect infection by H. virescens. Colouration in Ha. axyridis has been linked to the presence of an antimicrobial alkaloid (harmonine). In fall 2016, we collected 763 Ha. axyridis individuals in Cambridge, Massaschusetts, of which 119 (16%) bore H. virescens fruiting bodies. We analysed 160 individuals concerning prevalence and intensity of infection by H. virescens. Elytral sizes and colouration patterns were quantified using digital photography and analytical methods. Smaller ladybirds had a higher prevalence and higher intensity of parasitism. Additionally, male ladybirds bore more thalli compared to female ladybirds. Elytral colour patterns had an effect on neither prevalence nor intensity of infection by Laboulbeniales in our dataset. This suggests that development of Laboulbeniales may be unaffected by certain insect alkaloids.

Subject Areas

biotrophic interactions; invasive species; colour polymorphism; harlequin ladybird; harmonine

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