Biodiv Sci ›› 2023, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (11): 23273.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2023273

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Advances in the mechanisms of entomopathogenic fungi infecting insect hosts and the defense strategies of insects

Haidi Qi1, Dinghai Zhang1,*(), Lishan Shan2, Guopeng Chen2, Bo Zhang3   

  1. 1 Center for Quantitative Biology, College of Science, Gansu Agricultural University, Lanzhou 730070
    2 College of Forestry, Gansu Agricultural University, Lanzhou 730070
    3 Pratacultural College, Gansu Agricultural University, Lanzhou 730070
  • Received:2023-07-31 Accepted:2023-10-18 Online:2023-11-20 Published:2023-11-09
  • Contact: * E-mail:


Background: Entomopathogenic fungi are a group of fungi that parasitize insects and cause insect death, with high insecticidal efficacy and low impact on the environment. Entomopathogenic fungi have important application and are often used as biopesticides to control pests.

ProgressThis paper provides an overview of the categorization information for insect pathogenic fungi and elaborates on the processes involved in fungal infection of the host, changes in host behavior, and the mechanism of spore transport during infection. Following that, the strategies used by insects to fight infection are sorted, focusing mostly on body wall defense, autoimmune system protection, and behavioral avoidance of fungal pathogens. On the basis of this, the coevolutionary relationship between the defense mechanisms of insects and the harmful mechanism of fungi on insects is examined.

ProspectsWe look forward to future research directions, emphasizing that the effects of insect population density and spore concentration in the environment on infectious disease outbreaks should be investigated based on basic models of infectious disease transmission dynamics, and that fungal transmission patterns should be studied to guide field applications.

Key words: entomopathogenic fungi, mechanism of infection, changes in host behavior, defensive strategy, coevolution