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Fungus gnats have been shown to transmit a variety of plant pathogenic fungi that produce aerial dispersal stages. However, few studies have examined potential interactions between fungus gnats and oomycetes, including Pythium spp. A series of laboratory experiments were conducted to determine if fungus gnat adults are vectors of several common greenhouse Pythium spp., including P. aphanidermatum, P. irregulare, and P. ultimum. An additional objective was to determine if P. aphanidermatum can be maintained transstadially in the gut of a fungus gnat larva through the pupal stadium to be transmitted by the subsequent adult. Adult fungus gnats did not pick up infectious Pythium propagules from diseased plants and transmit them to healthy plants in any experiment. Species-specific primers and a probe for real-time PCR were developed to detect the presence of P. aphanidermatum DNA in fungus gnat tissue samples. P. aphanidermatum DNA was detectable in the larval and pupal stages; however, none was detected in adult fungus gnats. These results are in agreement with previous studies that have suggested that adult fungus gnats are unlikely vectors of Pythium spp.
Cornell University, Entomology, Cornell University, Department of Entomology, Comstock Hall, Ithaca, New York, United States, 14853; email@example.com.
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A plant genus of subsucculent annual or perennial plants in the family BALSAMINACEAE, order Geraniales.
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