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Madagascar hissing cockroach mite, Gromphadorholaelaps schaeferi, prevents fungal infection in its cockroach host: evidence for a mutualistic symbiosis

Madagascar hissing cockroach mite, Gromphadorholaelaps schaeferi, prevents fungal infection in... In this study, we provide the first evidence that the mite Gromphadorholaelaps schaeferi is beneficial to the Madagascar hissing cockroach Gromphadorhina portentosa by participating in a cleaning symbiosis and thus prolonging the life of its host. Gromphadorholaelaps schaeferi is a permanent resident of the cockroach and reduces mould levels by removing the food debris from the cockroach that acts as a substrate for fungal growth. To investigate the mould clearance attributes of these mites, we determined the effectiveness of mite infestation for decreasing cockroach mortality from a topically applied entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium anisopliae. We further determined the effects of regulating cockroach food levels on altering the mycoflora profile of the cockroaches, with and without mites. Results showed that the lifespan of the cockroaches is extended by approximately 9 months when infested with mites. When treated with M. anisopliae (107 conidia/ml), which is pathogenic to the cockroach but not to the mite, mite infestation increases cockroach longevity by 65% as compared to uninfested cockroaches. Also, the effects of limiting the food offered to the cockroaches synergize with the cleaning symbiosis relationship to further reduce cockroach surface moulds. As a side observation, limiting food input in the cockroach colony not only reduces total cockroach moulds, but also shifts the fungal competition to favour those strains that are less medically significant, that is, away from an otherwise heavy zygomycete load of Rhizopus spp. and Mucor spp. to mitosporic fungi. Maintaining a healthy mite population, and reducing the amount of food kept in the cages, when keeping the hissing cockroach in captivity can potentially reduce fungal load and therefore any associated (human) allergies. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Acarology Taylor & Francis

Madagascar hissing cockroach mite, Gromphadorholaelaps schaeferi, prevents fungal infection in its cockroach host: evidence for a mutualistic symbiosis

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References (45)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN
1945-3892
eISSN
0164-7954
DOI
10.1080/01647954.2012.662248
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In this study, we provide the first evidence that the mite Gromphadorholaelaps schaeferi is beneficial to the Madagascar hissing cockroach Gromphadorhina portentosa by participating in a cleaning symbiosis and thus prolonging the life of its host. Gromphadorholaelaps schaeferi is a permanent resident of the cockroach and reduces mould levels by removing the food debris from the cockroach that acts as a substrate for fungal growth. To investigate the mould clearance attributes of these mites, we determined the effectiveness of mite infestation for decreasing cockroach mortality from a topically applied entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium anisopliae. We further determined the effects of regulating cockroach food levels on altering the mycoflora profile of the cockroaches, with and without mites. Results showed that the lifespan of the cockroaches is extended by approximately 9 months when infested with mites. When treated with M. anisopliae (107 conidia/ml), which is pathogenic to the cockroach but not to the mite, mite infestation increases cockroach longevity by 65% as compared to uninfested cockroaches. Also, the effects of limiting the food offered to the cockroaches synergize with the cleaning symbiosis relationship to further reduce cockroach surface moulds. As a side observation, limiting food input in the cockroach colony not only reduces total cockroach moulds, but also shifts the fungal competition to favour those strains that are less medically significant, that is, away from an otherwise heavy zygomycete load of Rhizopus spp. and Mucor spp. to mitosporic fungi. Maintaining a healthy mite population, and reducing the amount of food kept in the cages, when keeping the hissing cockroach in captivity can potentially reduce fungal load and therefore any associated (human) allergies.

Journal

International Journal of AcarologyTaylor & Francis

Published: Jun 1, 2012

Keywords: arthropod–arthropod interaction; cockroach allergy; asthma; Metarhizium anisopliae

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