Microsporidian infections in Lymantria dispar larvae: Interactions and effects of multiple species infections on pathogen horizontal transmission

Daniela K. Pilarska, Leellen F. Solter, Manana Kereselidze, Andreas Linde, Gernot Hoch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The interactions in multiple species infections and effects on the horizontal transmission of three microsporidian species, Vairimorpha disparis, Nosema lymantriae and Endoreticulatus schubergi, infecting Lymantria dispar were evaluated in the laboratory. Simultaneous and sequential inoculations of host larvae were performed and the resulting infections were evaluated. Test larvae were exposed to the inoculated larvae to measure horizontal transmission. Dual species infections demonstrated interspecific competition between Nosema and Vairimorpha in the host larvae, but no observable competition occurred between Endoreticulatus and either of the other microsporidian species. Timing of inoculation was an important factor determining the outcome of competition between Nosema and Vairimorpha. The species inoculated first showed a higher rate of successful establishment; a time lag of 7 days between inoculations allowed the first species to essentially exclude the second. The microsporidia differed in efficiency of horizontal transmission. Nosema and Endoreticulatus were transmitted at very high rates, close to 100%. Horizontal transmission of Vairimorpha was less efficient, ranging from 25% to a maximum of 75%. The patterns of infection observed in inoculated larvae were reflected in the test larvae that acquired infections in the horizontal transmission experiments. Competition with Vairimorpha suppressed horizontal transmission of Nosema after simultaneous and sequential inoculation. In simultaneous inoculation experiments Endoreticulatus had no effect on transmission of Nosema and Vairimorpha.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-113
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Invertebrate Pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Co-infection
  • Endoreticulatus schubergi
  • Horizontal transmission
  • Interspecific competition
  • Lymantria dispar
  • Nosema lymantriae
  • Vairimorpha disparis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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