Diversity of Entomopathogenic Fungi. Which Groups Conquered the Insect Body?

J. P.M. Araújo, David Peter Hughes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

152 Scopus citations


The entomopathogenic fungi are organisms that evolved to exploit insects. They comprise a wide range of morphologically, phylogenetically, and ecologically diverse fungal species. Entomopathogenic fungi can be found distributed among five of the eight fungal phyla. Entomopathogens are also present among the ecologically similar but phylogenetically distinct Oomycota or water molds, which belong to a different kingdom, the Stramenopila. As a group of parasites, the entomopathogenic fungi and water molds infect a wide range of insect hosts, from aquatic larvae to adult insects from high canopies in tropical forests or even deserts. Their hosts are spread among 20 of the 31 orders of insects, in all developmental stages: eggs, larvae, pupae, nymphs, and adults. Such assortment of niches has resulted in these parasites evolving a considerable morphological diversity, resulting in enormous biodiversity, the majority of which remains unknown. Here we undertake a comprehensive survey of records of these entomopathogens in order to compare and contrast both their morphologies and their ecological traits. Our findings highlight a wide range of adaptations that evolved following the evolutionary transition by the fungi and water molds to infect the most diverse and widespread animals on Earth, the insects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGenetics and Molecular Biology of Entomopathogenic Fungi, 2016
EditorsRaymond J. St. Leger, Brian Lovett
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Number of pages39
ISBN (Print)9780128046944
StatePublished - 2016

Publication series

NameAdvances in Genetics
ISSN (Print)0065-2660

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics


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