Pathogenic fungi infection attributes of malarial vectors Anopheles maculipennis and Anopheles superpictus in central Iran

Malar J. 2021 Oct 9;20(1):393. doi: 10.1186/s12936-021-03927-4.


Background: Due to the effect of synthetic and commercial insecticides on non-target organisms and the resistance of mosquitoes, non-chemical and environmentally friendly methods have become prevalent in recent years. The present study was to isolate entomopathogenic fungi with toxic effects on mosquitoes in natural larval habitats.

Methods: Larvae of mosquitoes were collected from Central, Qamsar, Niasar, and Barzok Districts in Kashan County, Central Iran by standard dipping method, from April to late December 2019. Dead larvae, live larvae showing signs of infection, and larvae and pupae with a white coating of fungal mycelium on the outer surface of their bodies were isolated from the rest of the larvae and sterilized with 10% sodium hypochlorite for 2 min, then washed twice with distilled water and transferred to potato-dextrose-agar (PDA) and water-agar (WA) media and incubated at 25 ± 2 °C for 3-4 days. Larvae and fungi were identified morphologically based on identification keys.

Results: A total of 9789 larvae were collected from urban and rural areas in Kashan County. Thirteen species were identified which were recognized to belong to three genera, including Anopheles (7.89%), Culiseta (17.42%) and Culex (74.69%). A total of 105 larvae, including Anopheles superpictus sensu lato (s.l), Anopheles maculipennis s.l., Culex deserticola, Culex perexiguus, and Culiseta longiareolata were found to be infected by Nattrassia mangiferae, Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus fumigatus, Trichoderma spp., and Penicillium spp. Of these, Penicillium spp. was the most abundant fungus isolated and identified from the larval habitats, while An. superpictus s.l. was the most infected mosquito species.

Conclusions: Based on the observations and results obtained of the study, isolated fungi had the potential efficacy for pathogenicity on mosquito larvae. It is suggested that their effects on mosquito larvae should be investigated in the laboratory. The most important point, however, is the proper way of exploiting these biocontrol agents to maximize their effect on reducing the population of vector mosquito larvae without any negative effect on non-target organisms.

Keywords: Biocontrol agent; Entomopathogenic fungi; Mosquito.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anopheles / microbiology*
  • Culex / microbiology
  • Fungi / classification
  • Fungi / isolation & purification*
  • Fungi / pathogenicity
  • Iran
  • Larva / microbiology
  • Mosquito Vectors / microbiology*
  • Pupa / microbiology