Wood decay fungus Flavodon ambrosius (Basidiomycota: Polyporales) is widely farmed by two genera of ambrosia beetles
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The ambrosia fungus Flavodon ambrosius is the primary nutritional mutualist of ambrosia beetles Ambrosiodmus and Ambrosiophilus in North America. F. ambrosius is the only known ambrosial basidiomycete, unique in its efficient lignocellulose degradation. F. ambrosius is associated with both native American beetle species and species introduced fromAsia. It remains unknown whether F. ambrosius is strictly a North American fungus, or whether it is also associated with these ambrosia beetle genera on other continents. We isolated fungi from the mycangia and galleries of ambrosia beetles Ambrosiodmus rubricollis, Ambrosiodmus minor, Ambrosiophilus atratus, and Ambrosiophilus subnepotulus in China, South Korea, and Vietnam. Phylogenetic analyses suggest that all Asian and North American isolates represent a single haplotype. These results confirm Flavodon ambrosius as the exclusive mutualistic fungus of multiple Ambrosiodmus and Ambrosiophilus beetle species around the world, making it the most widespread known ambrosia fungus species, both geographically and in terms of the number of beetle species. The Flavodon-beetle symbiosis appears to employ an unusually strict mechanism for maintaining fidelity, compared to the symbioses of the related Xyleborini beetles, which mostly vector more dynamic fungal communities.
Li, You; Bateman, Craig Christopher; Skelton, James; Jusino, Michelle Alice; Nolen, Zachary John; Simmons, David Rabern; Hulcr, Jiri. 2017. Wood decay fungus Flavodon ambrosius (Basidiomycota: Polyporales) is widely farmed by two genera of ambrosia beetles. Fungal Biology. 121(11): 984-989. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.funbio.2017.08.004.