Abstract The objective of this study was the selection of strains of Verticillium lecanii for solid-state fermentation (SSF) containing cuticle of Sphenarium purpurascens as an inducer of proteases and chitinases. The selection criteria were: growth at low water activity (a W), enzymatic activities (proteases and chitinases) and CO 2 production rate. Three strains of V. lecanii were studied ATCC 26854, ATCC 46578 and a wild strain (WS). The strains ATCC 26854 and WS presented the best biomass production at low a W (0.957). Highest rates of clearing zones of casein and chitin were obtained for strains ATCC 26854 and WS. Best results of CO 2 production in SSF were obtained by using V. lecanii ATCC 26854 which showed a maximal value (2.3 mg CO 2 g IDM −1 h −1) at 36 h of cultivation. Although clearing zones of casein and chitin were partial criteria for strain selection. It was concluded that growth a low water activities and CO 2 production rate, were more reliable criteria for selecting strains of V. lecanii for solid state culture using cuticle of insect as the main C and N source.