We studied the effect of the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana strain GHA on a) colony development of the beetles Tribolium castaneum (Herbst) and Ulomoides dermestoides (Fairmaire) (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) under laboratory conditions; and 2) the volatile blend released by both beetles, containing defensive pheromones, by using the solid phase microextraction technique. Colony development of both species was strongly altered 3 mo after treatment with B. bassiana, showing a significant reduction in progeny of 37.5% for T. castaneum and 50.0% for U. dermestoides. We also showed that the volatiles released by T. castaneum diminished close to 20% compared with those of healthy beetles, whereas in U. dermestoides secretions dramatically dropped to 5%, 7 d after immersion in 1 × 109 conidia per ml. These results suggest that after infection events take place, fungus-induced diminished secretion of the defensive pheromones may be a physiologic clue for behavioral changes in infected beetles.
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Vol. 103 • No. 4