Metarhizium (anamorphic genus - entomopathogens)
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Metarhizium (entomopathogens) Sorokin 1879
The genus Metarhizium contains fungi which infect and kill arthropods and produce greenish conidia. The species are important biological control agents which have been used against many different insect pests. In particular Metarhizium anisopliae is known as a common and widespread species with many hosts. However, M. anisopliae is now considered to be a complex of different species which are morphologically identical but can be separated based on their DNA structure.
The spores are found in the soil and after coming in contact with a suitable host, germinate and penetrate the cuticle of the insect using enzymes like proteases, lipases and chitinases. Inside the host, the fungus multiplies and eventually kills the host. It then re-emerges through the cuticle and produces new conidia on its surface.
The reproduction is typically asexual and teleomorph stages are rare. These have been described under the genus Metacordyceps.
Type species: Metarhizium anisopliae
Currently, the following species have been entered into the system: