Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/23/2011
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Protists, eukaryotes of mainly unicellular organization, are perhaps the most diverse and numerous of insect pathogens. As a group, protists exhibit the full range of symbiotic associations with insects, from mutualism and commensalism to parasitism and pathogenicity. However, most protistan etiologic agents of insects cause chronic rather than acute diseases that tend to be unapparent and may cause population effects that are poorly researched and understood. The available knowledge on entomopathogenic protists in the taxa Amoebozoa, Apicomplexa, Ciliophora, Euglenozoa, and Helicosporidia is reviewed. Topics include their morphology, development, transmission, host range, host-pathogen associations, and potential for use in biological pest control. The life cycles, usually highly complex, are described for each group. Although protistan entomopathogens are often prevalent and persistent in nature, because of host specificities and difficulties in mass production, they are generally not regarded as likely microbial insecticides. Inoculative release and conservation would be more feasible approaches. The research needs, problems of taxonomy, and population dynamics are discussed.