Detection of microsporidia infecting beet webworm Loxostege sticticalis (Pyraloidea: Crambidae) in European part of Russia in 2006–2008
Keywords:microsporidia, beet webworm, diagnostics, fluorescent microscopy, DAPI, PCR, rDNA, Endoreticulatus
The beet webworm Loxostege sticticalis (L.) is a major insect pest that causes serious damage of agricultural crops in Russia, China and adjacent countries. Microsporidia are obligate intracellular parasites that negatively affect population density of many insect hosts including Lepidoptera. In particular, infection with microsporidia is an important mortality factor for L. sticticalis. Special methodology for the identification of microsporidia associated with terrestrial insects is required. In the present paper we report the results of screening beet webworm moths for microsporidia using two techniques, i.e. light microscopy (LM) and PCR. Adult moths were sampled in 2006–2008 in the European part of Russia: Rostov Region, Krasnodar Territory and Republic of Bashkortostan. Microsporidia infections were detected in insects collected from all sampling sites. Examination of smears by LM showed presence of microsporidian spores in 3.4 % of samples (N=98). PCR analysis of the same dataset was positive in 6.7 % of samples, including those containing and not containing spores. The higher infection rate determined by PCR is likely connected with the fact that only mature spores can be unequivocally identified by LM, whereas PCR also allows detection of otherdevelopmental stages of microsporidia. Partial sequencing of an amplicon from Krasnodar Territory showed its close relatedness to Endoreticulatus poecilomonae from Poecilimon thoracicus Fieber (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae).