Like other ambrosia beetles, Xyleborus volvulus Fabricius (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) lives in a mutualistic symbiotic relationship with fungi that serve as food source. Until recently, X. volvulus was not considered a pest, and none of its symbionts were considered plant pathogens. However, recent reports of an association between X. volvulus and Raffaelea lauricola T.C. Harr., Fraedrich & Aghayeva (Ophiostomatales: Ophiostomataceae), the cause of the laurel wilt disease of avocado (Persea americana Mill. [Laurales: Lauraceae]), and its potential role as vector of the pathogen merit further investigation. The objective of this study was to evaluate three artificial media containing sawdust obtained from avocado or silkbay (Persea humilis Nash) for laboratory rearing of X. volvulus. The effect of R. lauricola in the media on the beetle’s reproduction was also evaluated. Of the three media, the one with the lowest content of sawdust and intermediate water content provided the best conditions for rearing X. volvulus. Reproduction on this medium was not affected by the sawdust species or the presence of R. lauricola. On the other two media, there was a significant interaction between sawdust species and R. lauricola. The presence of R. lauricola generally had a negative effect on brood production. There was limited colonization of the mycangia of X. volvulus by R. lauricola on media inoculated with the pathogen. From galleries formed within the best medium, there was 50% recovery of R. lauricola, but recovery was much less from the other two media. Here, we report the best artificial substrate currently known for X. volvulus.
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Vol. 46 • No. 6