Laboulbeniomycetes

Abstract

Fungi belonging to class Laboulbeniomycetes are a diverse group that utilise arthropods for nutrition and/or dispersal. This enigmatic group has been studied by very few researchers since their original discovery in the mid‐nineteenth century. Salient features of the general biology of these organisms include information on host range, transmission, host specificity, position specificity, pathogenicity, thallus development and classification and phylogeny.

Key Concepts

  • Class Laboulbeniomycetes are a diverse group of Ascomycete fungi.
  • These understudied organisms utilise arthropods for nutrition and/or dispersal.
  • General biological features of Laboulbeniomycetes are outlined.
  • Results from the latest research on the group are summarised.
  • Areas for future research are defined.

Keywords: Laboulbeniomycetes; Arthropoda; parasites; specificity; phylogeny

Figure 1. Thin section through the femur of Harmonia axyridis (Coccinellidae) showing infection with thalli of Hesperomyces virescens. The dark brown ovoid structures on the surface of the femur are the foot cells of the fungus and beneath these it is possible to see narrow penetration pegs, and small circular haustoria from which rhizoidal hyphae ramify within the body cavity of the host.
Figure 2. Diagrammatic representation of species of Chitonomyces on Laccophilus maculosus showing five pairs and one triplet of (colour coded) morphospecies on corresponding body parts of male and female hosts. Blue a and b – C. simplex, a – the alternate form (previously known as C. uncinatus) found only on male beetles, b – C. simplex – the typical form found on male and female beetles. Orange a and b – C. affinis a – the alternate form (previously known as C. lichanophorus) found only on male beetles, b – C. affinis – the typical form found on male and female beetles. Red a and b – C. hyalinus, a – the typical form found only on male beetles, b – C. hyalinus – the alternate form (previously known as C. marginatus) found on male and female beetles. Purple a–c – C. appendiculatus, a – C. appendiculatus a typical form previously known as C. distortus, found only on male beetles and sharing the same position as, b – C. appendiculatus a typical form found only on male beetles, c – C. appendiculatus the alternate form (previously known as C. dentifer) found on male and female beetles. Yellow a and b – C. rhyncostoma, a – the alternate form (previously known as C. spiniger) found only on male beetles, b – C. rhyncostoma – the typical form found on male and female beetles. Green a and b – C. paradoxus, a – the alternate form (previously known as C. unciger) found only on male beetles, b – C. paradoxus – the typical form found on male and female beetles. Reproduced from Goldmann and Weir 2012 with permission from Taylor & Francis Group.
Figure 3. Thalli of Ceratomyces mirabilis showing basal attachment foot, receptacle, appendage and perithecium.
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Further Reading

Benjamin RK (1973) Laboulbeniomycetes. In: Ainsworth GC, Sparrow FK and Sussman AS (eds) The Fungi – An Advanced Treatise, Volume IVA, A Taxonomic Review with Keys: Ascomycetes and Fungi Imperfecti, pp. 223–245. New York: Academic Press.

Weir A (2002) The Laboulbeniales – an enigmatic group of arthropod associated fungi. In: Sechbach J (ed) Enigmatic Organisms and Life in Extreme Environments, pp. 611–620. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Weir A and Blackwell M (2005) Fungal biotrophic parasites of insects and other arthropods. In: Vega FE and Blackwell M (eds) Insect‐fungal Associations: Ecology and Evolution, pp. 119–145. New York: Oxford University Press.

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How to Cite close
Weir, Alex(Jul 2017) Laboulbeniomycetes. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0027214]