Beauveria diapheromeriphila is an obligate parasite of Diapheromerinae stick bugs. These insects are arboreal and occur in undisturbed tropical rainforests from Mexico to Bolivia. B. diapheromeriphila is known from the west Amazonian foothills that transition to lowland tropical rainforests. B. diapheromeriphila was initially collected in Ecuador and is also recorded from Colombia, Guyana, and Peru. Morphologically similar material has been collected from Costa Rica and Panama, but these specimens may represent a distinct cryptic species. There is no direct information on population decline of the species, but a significant decline is inferred due to extensive past and ongoing habitat loss and decline in habitat quality due to oil exploitation in the Amazon foothills. A decline of at least 20-25% is estimated.
Beauveria diapheromeriphila was described in 2014 from material collected in 2004 in Ecuador (QCNE 186272), and material collected in 2001 in Guyana (PUL 19912). Originally called Cordyceps diapheromeriphila, it is located in the phylogenetic cluster of Beauveria. Globose yellow stromata with pseudoimmersed perithecia growing disseminated on the body of the host are the diagnosis characters of this species.
Beauveria diapheromeriphila is an entomopathogenic fungi that parasitize large stick bugs in the Neotropics. It was reported for the first time in Ecuador by Evans (1982). However, it was only collected again in 2004 in the same country, in the Amazon tropical rainforest, and proposed as a new species in 2014, with material also from Guyana. It was reported again in 2017 on the border between Colombia and Ecuador in the Napo region. Other four specimens have been reported from the same countries, as well as from Costa Rica, Panama, and Peru. The localities where these specimens were found are undisturbed, and a few are from disturbed montane or lowland tropical rainforest, which face anthropic pressure due to oil extraction and land use change.
Beauveria diapheromeriphila is an entomopathogenic fungus which attacks stick bugs from the Diapheromeridae family (Phasmidae) which are distributed in the west Amazonian foothills that include transition lowland tropical rainforests. B. diapheromeriphila was initially collected in Ecuador, and is also recorded from Colombia, Guyana, and Peru. Morphologically similar material has been collected from Costa Rica and Panama, but these specimens may represent a distinct cryptic species. There are citizen science reports from Panama and Peru.
The typical locality of Beauveria diapheromeriphila is the Napo biogeographic zone that includes the Amazon foothills from Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. There are also records from Guyana. It has not been found in the lowland Amazon even though there has been exhaustive surveys of Cordyceps s.l. (including Beauveria) in Bolivia and Brazil over the past 16 years. Although morphologically similar specimens have been collected in Panama and Costa Rica, the host appears distinct from the Napo specimens, and these records may represent a distinct cryptic species of Beauveria. There are many cryptic species of Cordyceps s. l. with similar morphology but that grow on different hosts that have been identified through DNA analysis. There is no direct information on the population decline of this species, but a significant decline is inferred due to extensive past and ongoing habitat loss and a decline in habitat quality due to oil exploitation in the Amazon foothill. A decline of at least 20-25% is projected.
Population Trend: Decreasing
Beauveria is a commonly found and diverse genus of entomopathogenic fungi in the conidial state. Few species are known from the sexual state across the world. B. diapheromeridae is one of three species in the Neotropics that produce the sexual state. Beauveria diapheromeriphila is an obligate parasite of Diapheromerinae stick bugs. These insects are arboreal and occur in undisturbed tropical rainforests from Mexico to Bolivia. The largest stick bugs live in healthy ecosystems and live their entire life in a single tree. When the tree falls or is cut, the stick bug loses its habitat and the individual B. diapheromeriphila loses its host.
The main known threat to Beauveria diapheromeriphila is declining habitat and fragmentation due to oil exploitation and deforestation. Its known distribution overlaps with areas that face the highest activity of oil exploitation in South America. This type of activity, as well as its consequences, put this species at risk throughout its range.
Habitat protection and management are needed, especially protection and mitigation from oil exploration and extraction.
Most entomopathogenic fungi are viable to grow in vitro. However, some are highly dependent on their host. In the case of this species, the taxonomy and ecology of Diapheromerinae in the Amazon are unknown. Research to better understand the complete life cycles of B. diapheromeriphila is needed to preserve it for future protection.
Conidia of species of Beauveria are broadly used around the world as a biopesticide.