Colletotrichum nymphaeae var. entomophilum var. nov. a natural enemy of the citrus scale insect, Praelongorthezia praelonga (Hemiptera: Ortheziidae)

ABSTRACT: The citrus scale insect Praelongorthezia praelonga (Douglas), a major pest of citrus and other economically important crops, has only two commonly documented natural enemies: an entomopathogenic strain of the fungus Colletotrichum nymphaeae (Pass.) Aa and several parasitoids. The entomopathogenic strain of C. nymphaeae, formerly recognized under the synonym C. gloeosporioides f. sp. ortheziidae, is under development for commercial application as a biological control agent in citrus in Brazil-the top exporter of citrus globally. The synonomy of C. gloeosporioides f. sp. ortheziidae with C. nymphaeae remains based on limited DNA sequence data and without morphological study. To qualify for future approval as a biological control agent by federal agencies in Brazil and the European Union, the circumscription of a microorganism must be explicit and without ambiguities. Herein, through morphological study and phylogenetic analysis of five DNA regions we clarify the circumscription and affinity of entomopathogenic C. nymphaeae and describe it as a new variety.