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A contribution to the knowledge of Nosema infections in bumble bees, Bombus spp

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  • [Sdv:Ba:Zi] Life Sciences/Animal Biology/Invertebrate Zoology
  • [Sdv:Ba:Zi] Sciences Du Vivant/Biologie Animale/Zoologie Des Invertébrés
  • [Sdv:Bid] Life Sciences/Biodiversity
  • [Sdv:Bid] Sciences Du Vivant/Biodiversité
  • [Sdv:Ee] Life Sciences/Ecology
  • Environment
  • [Sdv:Ee] Sciences Du Vivant/Ecologie
  • Environnement
  • [Sdv:Sa:Spa] Life Sciences/Agricultural Sciences/Animal Production Studies
  • [Sdv:Sa:Spa] Sciences Du Vivant/Sciences Agricoles/Science Des Productions Animales
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Original article A contribution to the knowledge of Nosema infections in bumble bees, Bombus spp. Paul Schmid-Hempel Roland Loosli ETH Zürich, Experimental Ecology, ETH-Zentrum, NW, CH-8092 Zürich, Switzerland (Received 1 December 1997; accepted 22 June 1998) Abstract - Experimental infections of adult and larval workers and adult males of Bombus terrestris with the microsporidium Nosema bombi showed all stages and both sexes to be susceptible. On average 19-29 % of infections were successful and no significant differences among these host cat- egories were found. Different sources of Nosema spores differed in their success in infecting differ- ent host colonies, suggesting genotype-genotype interactions at the level of colonies and parasite sources. In a second experiment, N. bombi obtained from B. terrestris were found to be infective for workers of B. lapidarius and B. hypnorum, although less so in these foreign hosts. On the other hand, case mortality was significantly higher in foreign hosts than in B. terrestris. Infection and high spore loads correlated with early death of the host. In addition, a factorial analysis showed that variation among-colonies-within-species explained more of the variation in infection success than the factor species per se. © Inra/DIB/AGIB/Elsevier, Paris parasite / brood / host specificity / Bombus / Nosema bombi 1. INTRODUCTION Microsporidia are an important group of protozoan parasites, especially of insects, where they often infect epithelial cells or the fat body [6, 40]. More recently, infec- tions by microsporidia in humans have become more important, owing to the increase in the number of patients with immunodeficiency [7, 8]. In social insects, microsporidia have been reported from all major groups, i.e. the termites, wasps, ants and bees [33]. In particular, Nosema apis Z. infecting the honey bee, Apis mellifera L., has been studied in some detail because of the economic importance of its host [3]. Bumble bees, Bombus spp., are

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