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Metarhizium anisopliae infected cockroach (PLoS).jpg
Cockroach killed by Metarhizium anisopliae
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Ascomycota
Class: Sordariomycetes
Order: Hypocreales
Family: Clavicipitaceae
Genus: Metarhizium
Sorokīn, 1879
Type species
Metarhizium anisopliae
(Metchnikoff) Sorokīn

Metarhizium[1] is a genus of entomopathogenic fungi in the Clavicipitaceae family. With the advent of genetic profiling, placing these fungi in proper taxa has now become possible. Most turn out to be the asexual forms (anamorphs) of fungi in the phylum Ascomycota, including Metacordyceps spp.


Before molecular techniques were introduced at the end of the 20th century, Metarhizium species were identified on morphological (notably conidial) characteristics. The 'original' species included: M. anisopliae (with M.a. var. major), M. brunneum, M. cicadinum, M. cylindrosporum, M. flavoviride, M. taii, M. truncatum, and M. viridicolumnare. In 2009, nine former varieties of the type species M. anisopliae were assigned species status.[2] New species have continued to be identified, with original names sometimes re-instated (notably M. brunneum); the index fungorum currently (July 2018) lists:[3]

Other Reclassified Species Names[edit]


The teleomorphs of Metarhizium species appear to be members of the genus Metacordyceps.[6] Metacordyceps taii (as Cordyceps taii) has been described as the teleomorph of Metarhizium taii:[7] [8] a name that has now been restored.

Whether the other varieties of M. anisopliae have their own teleomorphs is not yet clear. Some, if not most, strains of M. anisopliae possibly have lost the capability of reproducing sexually.

Locust control[edit]

In the 1990s, the LUBILOSA research programme proved that M. acridum in its spore form was effective in killing locusts and other members of the Acrididea families with no deleterious effects found in field trials on any nontarget species except for the domesticated silk worm Bombyx mori.[9] It is currently produced as a biopesticide under the name Green Muscle by Becker Underwood South Africa.


  1. ^ Sorokīn (1879) Veg. Parasitenk. Mensch Tieren 2: 268.
  2. ^ Bischoff J.F.; Rehner S.A. Humber R.A. (2009). "A multilocus phylogeny of the Metarhizium anisopliae lineage". Mycologia. 101 (4): 512–530. doi:10.3852/07-202. PMID 19623931. 
  3. ^ Species fungorum search Metarhizium (retrieved 19 July 2018)
  4. ^ Lombard L, Crous PW (2016) in: Lombard, Houbraken, Decock, Samson, Meijer, Réblová, Groenewald & Crous Persoonia 36: 177.
  5. ^ Luangsa-ard, Thanakitpipattana (2017) in: Luangsa-ard, Mongkolsamrit, Thanakitpipattana, Khonsanit, Tasanathai, Noisripoom, Humber. Index Fungorum 345: 1.
  6. ^ Sung, G.-H.; Hywel-Jones, N.L.; Sung, J.-M.; Luangsa-ard, J.J.; Shrestha, B. & Spatafora, J.W. (2007). "Phylogenetic classification of Cordyceps and the clavicipitaceous fungi". Studies in Mycology. 57: 5–59. doi:10.3114/sim.2007.57.01. PMC 2104736Freely accessible. PMID 18490993. 
  7. ^ Liang, Z.-Q.; Liu, A.-Y.; Liu, J.-L. (1991). "A new species of the genus Cordyceps and its Metarhizium anamorph". Acta Mycologica Sinica. 10: 257–262. 
  8. ^ Huang B.; Li C.; Humber R.A.; Hodge K.T.; Fan M.; Li Z. (2005). "Molecular evidence for the taxonomic status of Metarhizium taii and its teleomorph, Cordyceps taii (Hypocreales, Clavicipitaceae)" (PDF). Mycotaxon. 94: 137–147. 
  9. ^ Lomer, C.J.; Bateman, R.P.; Johnson, D.L.; Langewald, J.; Thomas, M. (2001). "Biological Control of Locusts and Grasshoppers". Annual Review of Entomology. 46: 667–702. doi:10.1146/annurev.ento.46.1.667. 

External links[edit]