Lecanicillium lecanii

Lecanicillium lecanii
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Fungi
Phylum: Ascomycota
(Anamorphic Hypocreales)
Subdivision: Pezizomycotina
Class: Sordariomycetes
Order: Hypocreales
Family: Clavicipitaceae
Genus: Lecanicillium
Species: Lecanicillium lecanii
R. Zare & W. Gams

Lecanicillium lecanii is now an approved name of an entomopathogenic fungus species, that was previously widely known as Verticillium lecanii (Zimmerman) Viegas), but is now understood to be an anamorphic form in the Cordyceps group of genera in the Clavicipitaceae.[1] Isolates formerly classified as V. lecanii could be L. attenuatum, L. lecanii, L. longisporum, L. muscarium or L. nodulosum.[2] For example, several recent papers, such as Kouvelis et al. who carried out mitochondrial DNA studies,[3] refer to the name L. muscarium.

L. lecanii itself appears primarily to be a pathogen of soft scale insects (Coccidae).

The Index Fungorum, referring to L. lecanii, lists the following synonymy:

This fungus was first described in 1861 and has a worldwide distribution. Insects are infected when they come into contact with the sticky fungal spores which then grow and invade the body, thus the internal organs are consumed, leading to their death. In horticulture and agriculture L. lecanii is sometimes used as a biological pesticide for controlling insect pests such as whitefly, thrips and aphids.

"V. lecanii" isolates were first developed by scientists at the Glasshouse Crops Research Institute (now Warwick HRI: formerly part of Horticulture Research International): these are now marketed as 'Mycotal' (now L. muscarium) and 'Vertalec' (now L. longisporum) by Koppert in the Netherlands (who provide good illustrations of the fungus[4]). Other products based on this fungus have been developed elsewhere for use in cash crops, oil seeds, soybeans, ornamentals and vegetables.[5]


  1. Zare R, Gams W. (2001) A revision of Verticillium sect. Prostrata. III. Generic classification. Nova Hedwigia. 72: 329-337
  2. Goettel MS, Koike M, Kim JJ, Aiuchi D, Shinya R, Brodeur J (2008) Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 98: 256–261
  3. Kouvelisa VN, Ghikasa DV, Typas MA (2004). The analysis of the complete mitochondrial genome of Lecanicillium muscarium (synonym Verticillium lecanii) suggests a minimum common gene organization in mtDNAs of Sordariomycetes: phylogenetic implications Fungal Genetics and Biology Volume:41, 930-940
  4. http://www.flickr.com/photos/koppert/2775537893/
  5. Copping L.G. (ed.) (2009). The Manual of Biocontrol Agents 4th Edition. British Crop Production Council (BCPC), Farnham, Surrey UK; 851 pp.
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