Monitoring the establishment and prevalence of the fungal entomopathogen Entomophaga maimaiga in two Lymantria dispar L. populations in Bulgaria
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The establishment and prevalence of the entomopathogenic fungus Entomophaga maimaiga, (Zygomycetes, Entomophthorales), introduced into two gypsy moth populations in Bulgaria, was monitored during 2000–2004. In the Karlovo Region population, where E. maimaiga was introduced in 1999, the fungus was recovered every year and the prevalence of infection varied from 6.1% to 15.9%. A microsporidian infection caused by an Endoreticulatus sp. (Protista, Microsporidia) was also recorded every year and the prevalence varied from 2.1% and 5.0%. In the Svoge Region population, where E. maimaiga was introduced in late 2000 and first found in 2002, the prevalence of infection varied from 8.8% to 13.8%. Larval parasitism caused by Cotesia melanoscela, Protapanteles liparidis (Hymenoptera, Braconidae) and species of tachinids (Diptera, Tachinidae) was also recorded in the larvae of both populations. We provide a rationale as to why other countries should consider introducing E. maimaiga for biological control of Lymantria dispar populations.