MEM INST OSWALDO CRUZ, RIO DE JANEIRO, Vol. 112 | 2017
PAGES: DOI: 10.1590/0074-02760170369 Perspectives
Entomopathogenic fungi and their potential for the management of Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae) in the Americas

Harry C Evans1,2,3, Simon L Elliot2, Robert W Barreto3+

1Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International, Egham, Surrey, UK
2Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Departamento de Entomologia, Viçosa, MG, Brasil
3Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Departamento de Fitopatologia, Viçosa, MG, Brasil

Abstract

Classical biological control has been used extensively for the management of exotic weeds and agricultural pests, but never for alien insect vectors of medical importance. This simple but elegant control strategy involves the introduction of coevolved natural enemies from the centre of origin of the target alien species. Aedes aegypti - the primary vector of the dengue, yellow fever and Zika flaviviruses - is just such an invasive alien in the Americas where it arrived accidentally from its West African home during the slave trade. Here, we introduce the concept of exploiting entomopathogenic fungi from Africa for the classical biological control of Ae. aegypti in the Americas. Fungal pathogens attacking arthropods are ubiquitous in tropical forests and are important components in the natural balance of arthropod populations. They can produce a range of specialised spore forms, as well as inducing a variety of bizarre behaviours in their hosts, in order to maximise infection. The fungal groups recorded as specialised pathogens of mosquito hosts worldwide are described and discussed. We opine that similar fungal pathogens will be found attacking and manipulating Ae. aegypti in African forests and that these could be employed for an economic, environmentally-safe and long-term solution to the flavivirus pandemics in the Americas.

Financial support: CAPES (grant no. 88881.068090/2014-01).
+ Corresponding author: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Received 11 September 2017
Accepted 30 October 2017

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