Bulletin of Entomological Research

Research Article

Laboratory studies of the microsporidian Plistophora culicis (Weiser) infecting Culex pipiens fatigans Wied

D. G. Reynoldsa1

a1 Department of Medical Protozoology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London, WC1E 7HT

Populations of Culex pipiens fatigans Wied. were exposed to infection by Plistophora culicis (Weiser) by allowing eggs to hatch in water containing a known concentration of spores. At 26°C–28°C (mean 27°C) exposure of newly hatched larvae to a concentration of 6 000 spores/ml resulted in a 12–9% reduction in the net reproduction rate, and exposure to a concentration of 12 000 spores/ml to a reduction of 24·0%. These reductions were due to an increase in the rate of female mortality and an increase in the number of eggs laid which were non-embryonated and hence did not hatch. At 33°C–35°C (mean 34°C), although the spores of the microsporidian were not killed, development of P. culicis in the mosquito was inhibited. At 19·5°C–20·5°C (mean 20°C), the net reproduction rate of a population exposed as newly hatched larvae to a concentration of 1 890 spores/ml was reduced by 35·6%, due to a greatly increased rate of female mortality. P. culicis, with the inocula tested, is not considered of practical use against C.p. fatigans; more infective spore inocula are not feasible with the present methods of propagating the parasite.

(Received August 26 1970)