Zoophthora radicans (Zygomycetes: Entomophthorales), Diadegma semiclausum (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae), and Cotesia plutellae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) are all natural enemies of the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera: Yponomeutidae). Adult C. plutellae are not susceptible to Z. radicans infection but the pathogen can infect and kill adult D. semiclausum. Infection of adult D. semiclausum prior to exposure to P. xylostella host larvae significantly reduced the number of parasitoid cocoons subsequently developing from the host larvae. Although Z. radicans infection of P. xylostella larvae prior to parasitism by D. semiclausum or C. plutellae always resulted in the death of the immature parasitoids, neither species discriminated between healthy and Z. radicans-infected host larvae in an oviposition choice experiment. However, host larvae recently killed by Z. radicans were always rejected by D. semiclausum but sometimes accepted by C. plutellae. At 20°C, egg to pupa development took 6.7 and 7.8 days for D. semiclausum and C. plutellae, respectively. C. plutellae parasitism significantly increased host instar duration but D. semiclausum parasitism did not. Cadavers of P. xylostella larvae parasitized 1 day prior to fungal infection showed no reduction in Z. radicans conidia yield. However, cadavers of larvae parasitized 3 days prior to fungal infection demonstrated a marked decrease in Z. radicans conidia yield. Z. radicans infection of P. xylostella larvae =4 days after parasitism resulted in 100% parasitoid mortality; thereafter, the reduction in parasitoid cocoon yield decreased as the time between parasitism and initiation of fungal infection increased. The extended duration of the host larval stage induced by C. plutellae parasitism increased the availability of the parasitoid to the pathogen. Estimates of interspecific competition indicated a similar pattern for the interaction between Z. radicans and each species of parasitoid.
Furlong, M.J.; Pell, J.K. Conflicts between a Fungal Entomopathogen, Zoophthora radicans, and Two Larval Parasitoids of the Diamondback Moth. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology (2000) 76 (2) 85-94. [DOI: 10.1006/jipa.2000.4943]