First finding of the parasitic fungus Hesperomyces virescens (Laboulbeniales) on native and invasive ladybirds (Coleoptera, Coccinellidae) in South Africa
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Hesperomyces virescens is a fungal ectoparasite (Laboulbeniales) that infects adult ladybirds. Research has recently focused on this parasite due to the discovery of its prevalence on the globally invasive harlequin ladybird Harmonia axyridis and for its potential use in studies of co-evolution and pathogen spread. We collected adults from ten species of ladybirds in the Western Cape Province, South Africa, and screened for the presence of H. virescens. Infections with H. virescens were found in the samples of two species, H. axyridis and the native Cheilomenes propinqua. This marks the first record of H. virescens on H. axyridis from the African continent and the first record on Cheilomenes worldwide.