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Fungal Colonization of Peanut Fruit as Related to Southern Corn Rootworm Injury. D. M. Porter, Plant Pathologist, Southern Region, ARS, USDA, Holland, Virginia 23391; J. C. Smith, Associate Professor of Entomology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Tidewater Research and Continuing Education Center, Holland. Phytopathology 64:249-251. Accepted for publication 30 July 1973. DOI: 10.1094/Phyto-64-249.

Field-grown peanut fruit injured by the feeding of southern corn rootworm larvae were more susceptible to fungal colonization than noninjured fruit. Seed from injured fruit were colonized by fungi at a much greater frequency than seed from noninjured fruit. However, colonization by the toxigenic species Aspergillus flavus was not affected. In greenhouse tests, pod breakdown, an important in-soil rot of peanut fruit caused by Pythium myriotylum, was greatly enhanced by the presence of rootworm larvae. Under high inoculum densities of P. myriotylum and abnormally high rootworm populations the incidence of pod breakdown was almost twice that observed when only the fungus was present. Rootworm population densities influenced the severity of pod breakdown; severity increased as rootworm populations increased. The data suggest that insect feeding sites could provide portals of entrance into the peanut fruit for many fungi, including P. myriotylum.

Additional keywords: Arachis hypogaea, Diabrotica undecimpunctata howardi.