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(also petrifaction, calculous disease), a fungal disease of insects. The disease was characterized in 1835 by the Italian researcher A. Bassi. Affected insects become mummified and covered with a dense layer of conidiophores with white, pink, or green (depending on the species of fungus) conidia. White muscardine is the most prevalent in the USSR. It attacks the asiatic silkworm and silkworms of the genus Antheraea. Caterpillars die six to 12 days after infection. Silkworm cocoons infected with muscardine are 2.5–3 times lighter than healthy ones. When the eggs become infected, the embryos die and the surface of the eggs whitens. Control and preventive measures include lowering the humidity of the premises to about 60 percent, improving the ventilation, separating diseased caterpillars from healthy ones (burning the former), and carrying out disinfection.
Muscardine fungi are easily raised. They are used to make preparations to control agricultural and forest pests.