Ophiostomatoid fungi associated with the spruce bark beetle Ips typographus, including 11 new species from China
Ips typographus (Coleoptera, Scolytinae) is a spruce-infesting bark beetle that occurs throughout Europe and Asia. The beetle can cause considerable damage, especially when colonized trees are stressed and beetle populations increase. Although some studies have shown that populations of I. typographus in Europe, China and Japan are genetically distinct, these populations are biologically similar, including a strong association with ophiostomatoid fungi. To date, only two Leptographium spp. have been reported from the beetle in China, while 40 species have been reported from Europe and 13 from Japan. The aims of this study were to identify the ophiostomatoid fungal associates of I. typographus in north-eastern China, and to determine whether the fungal assemblages reflect the different geographical populations of the beetle. Field surveys in Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces yielded a total of 1 046 fungal isolates from 145 beetles and 178 galleries. Isolates were grouped based on morphology and representatives of each group were identified using DNA sequences of the ribosomal LSU, ITS, β-tubulin, calmodulin and elongation factor 1-α gene regions. A total of 23 species of ophiostomatoid fungi were identified, including 12 previously described species and 11 novel species, all of which are described here. The dominant species were Ophiostoma bicolor, Leptographium taigense and Grosmannia piceiperda D, representing 40.5 %, 27.8 % and 17.8 % of the isolates, respectively. Comparisons of species from China, Europe and Japan are complicated by the fact that some of the European and all the Japanese species were identified based only on morphology. However, assuming that those identifications are correct, five species were shared between Europe, Japan and China, two species were shared between China and Japan, five between Europe and China, and two between Europe and Japan. Consequently, Ips typographus populations in these different geographic areas have different fungal assemblages, suggesting that the majority of these beetle-associations are promiscuous. The results also suggested that the symbionts of the bark beetle do not reflect the population structures of the beetle. The use of fungal symbiont assemblages to infer population structures and invasion history of its vectors should thus be interpreted with circumspection.
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