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bad infection with microsporidia

Hampton - edu hampton at hawaii.edu
Sun Jul 11 11:05:16 EST 2004

Hello slawek:

    Yes, this is a serious parasite of Drosophila lab cultures.  When I was
working on the mainland at St. Lous, Missouri  back in the 1950's we had
infections in a number of species including melanogaster (see Stalker, H. D.
and H.L. Carson 1964 . A very serious parasite of laboratory Drosophila.
Drosophila Information Service 38:96.) This is a second report (the first
note was in DIS 31:170 1959) - ancient history!  If you don't have access to
old issues of DIS, I still have them and can send you xerox copies of these
two papers. There is also a later paper by a scientist at the University of
Illinois (I can't remember his name) who identified the microsporidians for
us  (we had two different species).

      You should start sterilizing right away if you want to stay in

Good luck and greetings from here!

Hampton Carson

Hampton L. Carson, Professor Emeritus
Department of Cell and Molecular Biology
John A. Burns School of Medicine
University of Hawaii at Manoa
Home: 1314 Kalakaua Ave. Apt 1111
Honolulu, HI 96826
Tel: (808) 983-4522; Fax: -4495

From: s.bartoszewski at zmbh.uni-heidelberg.de (slawek)
Organization: BIOSCI/MRC Rosalind Franklin Centre for Genomics Research
Newsgroups: bionet.drosophila
Date: Thu, 08 Jul 2004 15:23:37 +0100 (BST)
To: bionet-drosophila at net.bio.net
Subject: bad infection with microsporidia

Dear Fly People,

We have been having a really bad problem with a strange infection.  All
stages are affected as follows:

1. Larvae have a part of the body milky white and paralysed, after keeping
in Hoyers medium this part does not clear and is full of small round things
(now I know these are spores).
2. In pupae in a bad case the posterior part is twisted, otherwise they just
die.  Sometimes there is a good looking bottle full of larvae and pupae, but
almost no flies come out.
3. Adults live about a week and show a very poor fertility.

I had sent the flies to an agricultural institution and they were diagnosed
with microsporidia.  To my suggestion that two groups of microsporidia are
mentioned in Ashburner, the lady analysing them said that these would be
rather Octosporea and not Nosema.  She also thought that 2 medicines quoted
in Ashburner, Fumagillin and Benomyl, might not be effective.

The data about these pests is very poor, just a tiny chapter in Ashburner
with a few citations, and I failed to find anything useful in Medline.   I
am afraid that nowadays nobody reports these problems.  I am thinking to
outcross males from the infected lines to healthy females, in a few cases it
helped dramatically but I am not quite sure whether the bugs will not come

I would appreciate any suggestions from people who faced a similar problem
and managed to overcome it.


Slawek Bartoszewski
ZMBH, Univ. Heidelberg, Germany
E-Mail:  s.bartoszewski at zmbh.uni-heidelberg.de

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