The impact of mixed infection of three species of microsporidia isolated from the gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar L. (Lepidoptera: Lymantriidae)

Leellen F. Solter, Joel P. Siegel, Daniela K. Pilarska, M. Catherine Higgs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The outcome of mixed infection by three species of microsporidia in the genera Endoreticulatus, Nosema, and Vairimorpha, isolated from different populations of Lymantria dispar in Bulgaria, was evaluated in the laboratory. All possible combinations of two species were administered either simultaneously or sequentially to larvae, and mortality, duration of development, and larval weight at 20 days post-infection (simultaneous inoculation) or 23 days post-infection (sequential inoculation) were chosen as the outcome variables. Larvae were also dissected and the presence of each species of microsporidia and the tissues infected were recorded for each treatment. Effects of infection were dependent on both host sex and the type of exposure. Infected larvae were more likely to die than uninfected larvae, but there were no differences in mortality between single and mixed infections. Addition of Endoreticulatus to infections of Nosema or Vairimorpha significantly increased duration of development to the fourth ecdysis; this effect was additive. Addition of Nosema or Vairimorpha to an existing infection had no such effect. When Nosema was administered simultaneously with Endoreticulatus or Vairimorpha, infected larvae weighed more than larvae that had single infections with either pathogen. Nosema was displaced from the silk glands by Vairimorpha and Nosema suppressed octospore formation by Vairimorpha in fat body. The histological evidence combined with the data on larval weight supports the hypothesis that competition occurred in mixed infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-113
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Invertebrate Pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 4 2002


  • Competition
  • Endoreticulatus sp.
  • Mixed species infection
  • Nosema sp.
  • Vairimorpha sp.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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