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South African Journal of Science

On-line version ISSN 1996-7489
Print version ISSN 0038-2353

S. Afr. j. sci. vol.103 n.1-2 Pretoria Jan./Feb. 2007

 

RESEARCH LETTERS

 

Fungus gnats and other Diptera in South African forestry nurseries and their possible association with the pitch canker fungus

 

 

Brett P. HurleyI, II; Prem GovenderI; Teresa A. CoutinhoII; Brenda D. WingfieldII; Michael J. WingfieldII

IDepartment of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africa
IIForestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute, University of Pretoria

 

 


ABSTRACT

Fusarium circinatum is the causal agent of a serious disease of seedlings in South African pine nurseries. Insects, especially fungus gnats (Diptera: Sciaridae, Mycetophlidae), are suspected of transmitting this fungus in nurseries. The aim of this study was to ascertain which species of gnats are present in South African pine nurseries, and to consider whether these and other Diptera carry F. circinatum. Dipteran fauna were surveyed in four major forestry nurseries between 2000 and 2001. Fungi were isolated from these flies and the resulting Fusarium species were identified. Bradysia difformis was the only fungus gnat species found and it occurred in all nurseries. Other Dipteran families collected included Agromyzidae, Cecidomyiidae, Chironomidae, Ephydridae, Muscidae, Simulidae and Tachinidae. This is the first report of B. difformis in South Africa. Fusarium circinatum was not isolated from any of the Diptera collected. Fusarium oxysporum and F. stil-boides were isolated from Chironomidae, but these fungi are not considered important pathogens in the nurseries surveyed.


 

 

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Received 16 November 2006.
Accepted 20 February 2007.

 

 

* Author for correspondence. E-mail: brett.hurley@fabi.up.ac.za

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