Difference between revisions of "Entomopathogenic fungi"

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Revision as of 03:19, 19 December 2017

A synopsis of the abundant widespread neotropical fungi Ophiocordyceps unilateralis (likely a group of species) from Wikipedia [1] provides an introduction to this topic:

Ophiocordyceps unilateralis is an entomopathogen, or insect-pathogenising fungus, discovered by the British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace in 1859, and currently found predominantly in tropical forest ecosystems. O. unilateralis, also referred to as a zombie fungus, infects ants of the Camponotini tribe, with the full pathogenesis being characterized by alteration of the behavioral patterns of the infected ant. Infected hosts leave their canopy nests and foraging trails for the forest floor, an area with a temperature and humidity suitable for fungal growth; they then use their mandibles to affix themselves to a major vein on the underside of a leaf, where the host remains until its eventual death. The process leading to mortality takes 4–10 days, and includes a reproductive stage where fruiting bodies grow from the ant's head, rupturing to release the fungus's spores. O. unilateralis is in turn also susceptible to fungal infection itself, an occurrence which can limit its impact on ant populations, which has otherwise been known to devastate ant colonies.

The genus of ant infecting fungi were once in the genus Cordyceps but are now known to be in the genus Ophiocordyceps.

Species

Sortable table
Ant Fungus citation
Cephalotes atratus Ophiocordyceps evansii Sanjuan et al. 2015
Pachycondyla crassinoda Ophiocordyceps australis Sanjuan et al. 2015
Pachycondyla harpax Ophiocordyceps evansii Sanjuan et al. 2015
Paraponera clavata Ophiocordyceps ponerinarum Sanjuan et al. 2015

References

  • Sanjuan, T. I., A. E. Franco-Molano, R. M. Kepler, J. W. Spatafora, J. Tabima, A. M. Vasco-Palacios, and S. Restrepo. 2015. Five new species of entomopathogenic fungi from the Amazon and evolution of neotropical Ophiocordyceps. Fungal Biology. 119:901-916. doi:10.1016/j.funbio.2015.06.010