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Five new species of entomopathogenic fungi from the Amazon and evolution of neotropical Ophiocordyceps Public Deposited

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  • The neotropical biogeographic zone is a ‘hot spot’ of global biodiversity, especially for insects. Fungal pathogens of insects appear to track this diversity. However, the integration of this unique component of fungal diversity into molecular phylogenetic analyses remains sparse. The entomopathogenic fungal genus Ophiocordyceps is species rich in this region with the first descriptions dating to the early nineteenth century. In this study, material from various ecosystems throughout Colombia and Ecuador was examined. Molecular phylogenetic analyses of five nuclear loci including SSU, LSU, TEF, RPB1, and RPB2 were conducted alongside a morphological evaluation. Thirty-five specimens were examined representing fifteen different species of Ophiocordyceps, and five new species, Ophiocordyceps blattarioides, Ophiocordyceps tiputini, Ophiocordyceps araracuarensis, Ophiocordyceps fulgoromorphila, and Ophiocordyceps evansii, were described. An accurate identification of the host allowed us to conclude that host identity and host habitat are positively correlated with phylogenetic species of Ophiocordyceps and are probably strong drivers for speciation of neotropical entomopathogenic fungi.
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  • Sanjuan, T. I., Franco-Molano, A. E., Kepler, R. M., Spatafora, J. W., Tabima, J., Vasco-Palacios, A. M., & Restrepo, S. (2015). Five new species of entomopathogenic fungi from the Amazon and evolution of neotropical Ophiocordyceps. Fungal Biology, 119(10), 901-916. doi:10.1016/j.funbio.2015.06.010
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  • This research was partially financed by the Netherlands Fellowship Programmes (NFP) of the Netherlands organization for international cooperation in higher education (NUFFIC) grant to Aida Vasco-P., the National Science Foundation in the form of a PEET grant to Joseph W. Spatafora (DEB-0529752). This publication is a partial result from the project, "The phylogenetic relationship of Cordyceps in the Insecta class on the Amazon of Colombia", executed by the authors and with additional funds from COLCIENCIAS (Department of Science and Technology of Colombia) 4892009.
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