A community of 225 species of Coleoptera was used as a surrogate to evaluate nontarget effects of entomopathogenic fungi under development as biopesticides for use against the Malagasy migratory locust Locusta migratoria capito Saussure (Orthoptera: Acrididae). Evaluation of a standard chemical treatment of fenitrothion esfenvalerate, two indigenous isolates of Metarhizium flavoviride Gams & Roszsypol (SP3 and SP9), and an indigenous isolate of Beauveria bassiana (Balsamo) Vuillemin (SP16) against an untreated control in a replicated field trial in southern Madagascar showed that one of the isolates of M. flavoviride (SP3) and fenitrothion esfenvalerate had distinct effects on nontarget beetle communities that were similar to each other. The other two isolates had no detectable effects compared with the untreated control. Based on an evaluation of the species affected, the similar effects of SP3 and the chemical pesticide are hypothesized to be the result of a perturbation of predator-prey relationships, with a distinct tendency to be manifested via predators. The data indicate that use of SP9 and SP16 would have minimal detrimental effects on the biodiversity of nontarget beetles, but that SP3 needs further testing.
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Vol. 95 • No. 4