Chemical Signals That Mediate Insect-Fungal Interactions

  • Drion G. Boucias
  • Verena-Ulrike Lietze
  • Peter Teal


This chapter reviews the diverse types of chemical communication that mediate interactions between fungi and insects. Both life forms utilize complex chemosensory systems to process environmental cues. As they coexist in terrestrial and aquatic habitats, the consequences of their interactions range from beneficial effects for both partners to adverse ones or even death for one partner. Plants, as an additional life form, also can be involved in these multifaceted relationships. Depending on the volatility of the produced compound(s), chemical cues generally are perceived either by contact or from a distance. Responses of insects to such cues may operate on various levels, including metabolism, immune defense, and behavior. Furthermore, insects may perceive compounds as attractive, repellent, deterrent, or neutral. Fungi, on the other hand, show various metabolic responses to insect-borne chemicals that come into contact with their cell wall. While numerous published reviews and textbooks cover insect-fungal symbiosis, we here present examples of communication systems in which one or more components regulating the signaling events have been identified. These examples include fungal pathogens of insects and plants, mycophagous and fungivorous insects, mutualistic symbioses between fungi and insects, fungal kairomones utilized by insects, and floral and other scent mimicry exploited by fungi.


Fruiting Body Bark Beetle Insect Pollinator Opposite Mating Type Hyphal Body 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



In part this work was supported by funding provided through a specific cooperative program between P. Teal (CMAVE, USDA/ARS) and D. Boucias (University of Florida, Gainesville).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Drion G. Boucias
    • 1
  • Verena-Ulrike Lietze
    • 1
  • Peter Teal
    • 2
  1. 1.Entomology and Nematology DepartmentUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary EntomologyUSDA-ARSGainesvilleUSA

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