This study was aimed to morphologically and quantitatively analyze the types of hemocytes in Diatraea saccharalis F. thirdinstar caterpillar immunologicaly challenged by Metarhizium anisopliae (Metsch.) Sorok. and Beauveria bassiana (Bals.) Vuill. in concentrations of 103, 105 and 107 conidia mL-1, compared to nontreated specimens. A 10µL-sample of hemolymphs from five caterpillars for each treatment, in the intervals of 24, 36, 48 and 60h; 300 cells were counted in random fields of the lamina, using the immersion objective (100X). The most frequent hemocytes were the spherulocytes (34.8%), plasmatocytes (29.7%) and granulocytes (22.2%), while the least frequent were the prohemocytes (8.3%), the adipohemocytes (2.6%) and the oenocytoids (2.4%). B. bassiana promoted effective interference in the population of granulocytes at the concentration of 107 conidia mL-1 (24 and 36h) and of plasmatocytes at the concentrations of 103 conidia mL-1 (60h) and 107 conidia mL-1 (24 and 36h); there occurred an increase of the number of the granulocytes and a decrease of the number of plasmotocytes at the highest concentration, and an increase in the number of plasmatocytes at the concentration of 103 conidia mL-1. M. anisopliae do not interfere quantitatively in the granulocytes and plasmatocytes. Regarding the spherulocytes, there was observed a higher tendency of reduction in the number of these cells in the interval of 24 and 36h for both fungi, but a meaningful difference only occurred at the concentration of 105 conidia mL-1 in the 60h interval, presenting the smallest average. It was possible to conclude that B. bassiana has a more effective action over the populational dynamics of the granulocytes and plasmatocytes of D. saccharalis caterpillars in association with M. anisopliae.
Hemocytes; entomopathogenic fungi; morphology; sugarcane borer