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Open Access Masters of the manipulator: two new hypocrealean genera, Niveomyces (Cordycipitaceae) and Torrubiellomyces (Ophiocordycipitaceae), parasitic on the zombie ant fungus Ophiocordyceps camponoti-floridani

During surveys in central Florida of the zombie-ant fungus Ophiocordyceps camponoti-floridani, which manipulates the behavior of the carpenter ant Camponotus floridanus, two distinct fungal morphotypes were discovered associated with and purportedly parasitic on O. camponoti-floridani. Based on a combination of unique morphology, ecology and phylogenetic placement, we discovered that these morphotypes comprise two novel lineages of fungi. Here, we propose two new genera, Niveomyces and Torrubiellomyces, each including a single species within the families Cordycipitaceae and Ophiocordycipitaceae, respectively. We generated de novo draft genomes for both new species and performed morphological and multi-loci phylogenetic analyses. The macro-morphology and incidence of both new species, Niveomyces coronatus and Torrubiellomyces zombiae, suggest that these fungi are mycoparasites since their growth is observed exclusively on O. camponoti-floridani mycelium, stalks and ascomata, causing evident degradation of their fungal hosts. This work provides a starting point for more studies into fungal interactions between mycopathogens and entomopathogens, which have the potential to contribute towards efforts to battle the global rise of plant and animal mycoses.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 31, 2022

This article was made available online on November 9, 2022 as a Fast Track article with title: "Masters of the manipulator: two new hypocrealean genera, Niveomyces (Cordycipitaceae) and Torrubiellomyces (Ophiocordycipitaceae), parasitic on the zombie ant fungus Ophiocordyceps camponoti-floridani".

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  • Persoonia aims to publish papers dealing with molecular phylogeny and evolution of fungi. A further aim is to promote fungal taxonomy by employing a polythetic approach to clarify the true phylogeny and relationships within the kingdom Fungi. The journal publishes high-quality papers elucidating known and novel fungal taxa at the DNA level, and also strives to present novel insights into evolutionary processes and relationships. Papers to be considered include research articles and reviews.

    Papers are published using a Fast Track system. This implies that the papers are immediately published online and freely available through the internet via this website. Volumes appear twice a year (June and December). From Volume 36 onwards (2016) hard copy volumes will only be made available through printing-on-demand. The issues can be ordered separately through the Publication Division of Naturalis Biodiversity Center; e-mail: [email protected].

    Persoonia is a journal published jointly by the Naturalis Biodiversity Center and the Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute.
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