Luangsa-Ard J.J.,Mycology Laboratory BIOTEC |
Ridkaew R.,Mycology Laboratory BIOTEC |
Tasanathai K.,Mycology Laboratory BIOTEC |
Thanakitpipattana D.,Mycology Laboratory BIOTEC |
Hywel-Jones N.,Mycology Laboratory BIOTEC
Fungal Biology | Year: 2011
Several fungal pathogens of ants have been reported as members of the family Ophiocordycipitaceae in the order Hypocreales. Surveys in the south of Thailand have shown specimens showing characteristics that are morphologically similar to Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, a very common ant pathogen, by producing a lateral pad on one side of the stroma and producing whole ascospores. Phylogenetic analyses of the partial elongation factor tef1-α and the internal transcribed spacer regions ITS1-5.8S-ITS2 rDNA have shown that this is a distinct species from O. unilateralis. The morphological characters of Ophiocordyceps halabalaensis differs from O. unilateralis in the possession of bigger perithecia and ascospores, and molecular analyses have shown that this ant-specific fungus is sufficiently different from O. unilateralis, deserving the naming of a new species. Aspects of morphology, host association/host-specificity, and taxonomic position are discussed. © 2011 The British Mycological Society.