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Abstract Detail

Mycological Section

McCormick, Michael [1], Wang, Yan [2], Pickell, Tyler [1], White, Merlin [1].

Masquerading in mosquitoes: Preliminary surveys spot Harpellales gut fungi with collections of Culicidae in Idaho.

Trichomycetes, an ecological group that includes arthropod-associated fungi, reside in the digestive tract of their hosts. Members of the Harpellales include taxa associated with immature stages of aquatic insects. Many studies have been conducted worldwide in lotic systems, with relatively fewer collections and studies from lentic habitats. Ecologically, the degree to which hosts are specific to types of habitats varies and may well be impacted by water quality. Lower dipterans are “reliable” hosts of gut fungi, and many reports include data from black flies (Simuliidae) and midges (Chironomidae). Mosquitoes (Culicidae) are also excellent hosts of gut fungi and a number of species have been reported from them, some of these very consistently. Depending on abatement programs etc. mosquito larvae may be present in standing water sources, pools or ponds, rock pools, tree holes, cemetery vases etc. As much as we know about mosquitoes as disease carriers and with such potential for detrimental impact around the globe, they remain as an open window of opportunity for trichomycetologists. This is especially true in considering that the only known species to kill its (mosquito) host in nature, Smittium morbosum, has been reported (only) sporadically but from various parts of the globe over the last 50 years. Southwestern Idaho is well known for sagebrush steppe habitat and range land but also has extensive farm land with an elaborate system of canals, interconnected with larger waterways and reservoirs. Nineteen species of mosquitoes have been recorded in the state but reports on their gut endobionts is lacking. Over the last several years we have dissected periodic collections of mosquitoes that we present here as a preliminary survey of gut fungi recovered from them. Cosmopolitan species of gut fungi were recovered, including Smittium culicis and Zancudomyces culisetae. We also observed symptoms of disease, presented as melanized “black spots” on certain abdominal segments of a few mosquito larvae that were dead or dying. This is the hallmark signature of larvae that have been infected with Smittium morbosum. Attempts to isolate some of these taxa in pure culture were also made with some success. We highlight the taxa recovered with the hope that this might also promote further research in this area, not only in Idaho, but more broadly in North America and worldwide.

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1 - Boise State University, Biological Sciences, 1910 University Dr, Boise, Idaho, 83725-1515, United States
2 - University of Toronto, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 25 Willcocks St, Toronto, ON, M5S 3B2, Canada

Gut Fungi

Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Session: P
Location: Hall D/The Shaw Conference Centre
Date: Monday, July 27th, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PMY040
Abstract ID:1348
Candidate for Awards:None

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