Seventeen isolates of Metarhizium anisopliae (Metschnikoff) Sorokin and three isolates of Beauveria bassiana (Balsamo) Vuillemin (Hypocreales: Clavicipitaceae) were evaluated for their pathogenicity to the adult pea leafminer, Liriomyza huidobrensis (Blanchard) (Diptera: Agromyzidae), in the laboratory. Flies were contaminated with dry conidia through a velvet material wrapped around the inner side of a cylindrical plastic tube. All the isolates were pathogenic to the pea leafminer, causing mortality between 40 and 100% at 5 d after exposure. The lethal time for 50% mortality (LT50) ranged from 2.6 to 5.4 d, whereas the LT90 values varied between 3.2 and 9.1 d depending on the isolate. An autoinoculation device was evaluated in cage field experiments using only one of the virulent isolates, M. anisopliae ICIPE 20. The device was loaded with 2–3 g of dry conidia. Mortality of up to 100% was observed in flies captured from fungus-treated cages held under laboratory conditions. The average number of spores picked up by a single fly visiting the device increased with days after inoculation. One day after the inoculation, adults picked up an average of 4.1 ± 0.7 × 105 conidia and 39.6 ± 4.0 × 105 conidia 5 d after inoculation. Depending on the sampling date, the LT50 varied between 1.8 and 3.4 d. Results indicate that some isolates of B. bassiana and M. anisopliae are highly pathogenic to L. huidobrensis, suggesting a potential for their use in the control of this pest. They also suggest the possibility of L. huidobrensis suppression with fungi using an autoinoculation device.
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