6 April, 2021
Ophiostomatalean fungi associated with wood boring beetles in South Africa including two new species
Wilma J. Nel, Michael J. Wingfield, Z. Wilhelm de Beer & Tuan A. Duong\
Ambrosia beetles are small wood inhabiting members of the Curculionidae that have evolved obligate symbioses with fungi. The fungal symbionts concentrate nutrients from within infested trees into a usable form for their beetle partners, which then utilize the fungi as their primary source of nutrition. Ambrosia beetle species associate with one or more primary symbiotic fungal species, but they also vector auxiliary symbionts, which may provide the beetle with developmental or ecological advantages. In this study we isolated and identified ophiostomatalean fungi associated with ambrosia beetles occurring in a native forest area in South Africa. Using a modified Bambara beetle trap, living ambrosia beetle specimens were collected and their fungal symbionts isolated. Four beetle species, three Scolytinae and one Bostrichidae, were collected. Five species of ophiostomatalean fungi were isolated from the beetles and were identified using both morphological characters and DNA sequence data. One of these species, Raffaelea sulphurea, was recorded from South Africa for the first time and two novel species were described as Ceratocystiopsis lunata sp. nov. and Raffaelea promiscua sp. nov.