Influence of Dimilin on a microsporidian infection in the gypsy moth Lymantria dispar (L.) (Lepidoptera: Lymantriidae)

Dörte Goertz, Andreas Linde, Leellen F. Solter

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Bioassay studies were conducted to investigate the influence of Dimilin (diflubenzuron), a chitinsynthetase inhibitor used for insecticidal control of the gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar, on the development and viability of a microsporidian pathogen of L. dispar. Before or after an infection with a Nosema species, L. dispar larvae were fed Dimilin in sublethal dosages. Dimilin fed to L. dispar larvae at 0.65 ng/cm2 diet surface resulted in a total larval mortality of 53%. Although the microsporidian infection alone did not cause high mortality rates (9%), mortality increased to 96% when L. dispar larvae were inoculated with both Dimilin and Nosema spores. When Dimilin was fed to the larvae 24 h before or 6 days after inoculation with the microsporidium, the number of mature spores produced was significantly reduced. When Dimilin was fed to the larvae 24 h after microsporidian inoculation, the number of spores produced was not significantly reduced. Spores that were produced in larvae after Dimilin had been ingested with the diet were less infectious than spores produced in control larvae; the experimental infection rate decreased from 94% when spores obtained from control larvae were used, to 48 or 10% when spores obtained from larvae fed Dimilin 24 h or 6 days after Nosema inoculation, respectively, were used. Mature microsporidian spores washed in Dimilin solution prior to oral inoculation, however, were as infectious as spores stored in liquid nitrogen. We have shown that Dimilin interferes with the establishment of the parasite in its host. In addition, when Nosema sp. succeeds in infecting the L. dispar host despite treatment with Dimilin, the microsporidium does not develop optimally and spore production is reduced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)624-633
Number of pages10
JournalBiological Control
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2004


  • Chitin
  • Dimilin
  • Lymantria dispar
  • Microsporidia
  • Nosema sp.
  • Pathogen inhibition
  • Pathogen-pesticide interactions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Insect Science


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