Thaumastocoris peregrinus Carpintero and Dellapé, or bronze bug (Hemiptera: Thaumastocoridae), is a pest found in eucalyptus plantations worldwide. Use of entomopathogenic fungi has emerged recently as an alternative means of control for T. peregrinus. Here we report laboratory experiments conducted to select isolates of entomopathogenic fungi for use to control this pest. Seven isolates of Beauveria bassiana (Bals.-Criv.) Vuill. (Hypocreales: Cordycipitaceae), 3 of Metarhizium anisopliae (Metschn.) Sorokīn (Hypocreales: Clavicipitaceae), 2 of Metarhizium robertsii J.F. Bisch., S.A. Rehner & Humber (Hypocreales: Clavicipitaceae), and 2 of Isaria fumosorosea Wize (Hypocreales: Cordycipitaceae) at a concentration of 1 × 108 conidia per mL were assessed for their virulence to adults of T. peregrinus. In vitro growth and sporulation of the isolates also were evaluated through the analysis of colony development and conidia production in PDA culture medium, at 26 ± 1 °C, 70% RH, and a 12:12 h (L:D) photoperiod. All tested isolates were found to be pathogenic to T. peregrinus. The isolates Bb3, Bb4, Bb7, Ma1, Ma2, Mr2, and If1 exhibited significant virulence to the insect. The greatest growth (longest mean diam of colony) was for the isolate Ma2, whereas the highest sporulation rates were observed in the isolates If2 and Ma2. This study demonstrated that isolates of Beauveria, Metarhizium, and Isaria can cause infection in T. peregrinus. The Ma2 isolate of Metarhizium stood out for its pathogenic effect on the adult insect, as well as for its capacity to grow rapidly and produce large numbers of conidia on an artificial medium, indicating its potential for use as a microbial control agent for T. peregrinus, and its suitability for mass production.
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Vol. 101 • No. 4