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Bark beetles identify food fungi based on scents

The black stem borer (Xylosandrus germanus) uses scents from its food fungi to find trees that are already colonized by conspecifics, according to a study by the research team led by Biedermann and Dr. Gugliuzzo at the University of Freiburg and Catania. This ability allows the beetles to colonize already weakened trees and overcome their defenses.

Another study by environmental scientist Denicia Kassie and biologist Janina Diehl shows that the fruit-tree pinhole borer (Xyleborinus saxesenii) can recognize and distinguish between food and harmful fungi based on their scents, which allows the beetles to react and target the harmful fungi. This behavior is exhibited in both the adult and larval stages. 

The results of these studies can help to control pests in agriculture in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way. The studies have appeared in the journals Frontiers in Microbiology and Symbiosis.


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