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ŠUMARSKI LIST 5-6/2013 str. 40     <-- 40 -->        PDF

known locations of E. maimaiga epizootics to Georgia are on the coast of the Black Sea in Bulgaria (Georgiev et al. 2011), approximately 1,400 km distance to Dusheti in northeastern Georgia.
In this study most of the dead caterpillars (KC1, TC1, TC2) with obvious signs of fungal infection revealed no spores of E. maimaiga or other pathogens. A similar phenomenon was observed in infection experiments with E. maimaiga in laboratory conditions (Pilarska et al., 2013), which suggests that, under stress, many infected larvae die before spore formation.
Recent records of E. maimaiga in countries neighbouring Bulgaria (Georgiev et al. 2012a; Tabaković-Tošić et al. 2012) suggest that the species has already invaded or can be expected to invade gypsy moth populations in other areas of the Balkan Peninsula (Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia) and southeastern Europe (Hungary, Romania, Moldova, etc.). Its specific characteristics, high virulence, species specificity and the ability to regulate host numbers at both high and low population densities, characterize the fungus as an environmentally safe alternative to the use of bacterial and chemical insecticides, especially in forests with recreational use and in protected areas rich in butterflies of high conservation importance (Abadjiev and Beshkov 2007). It is thus desirable to initiate programs for extending the range of E. maimaiga. Spread within country borders can be facilitated by release of inoculum harvested from the sites with epizootics and inoculating newly emerging gypsy moth populations.
We are indebted to the National Science Fund of Bulgaria, Project DO-02-282/2008, Prof. Christos Athanassiu, University of Thessaly and the colleagues from Forest Department of Xanthi and Komotini for their contribution to this work. We are also very grateful to Dr. Leellen Solter from Illinois Natural History Survey for her valuable comments and editing.
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