Endemic Jeffrey pine beetle associates: Beetle/mite fungal dissemination strategies and interactions that may influence beetle population levels
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Microorganisms. 9: 1641.
Fungal and mite associates may drive changes in bark beetle populations, and mechanisms constraining beetle irruptions may be hidden in endemic populations. We characterized common fungi of endemic-level Jeffrey pine beetle (JPB) in western USA and analyzed their dissemination by JPB (maxillae and fecal pellet) and fungivorous mites to identify if endogenous regulation drove the population. We hypothesized that: (1) as in near-endemic mountain pine beetle populations, JPB’s mutualistic fungus would either be less abundant in endemic than in non-endemic populations or that another fungus may be more prevalent; (2) JPB primarily transports its mutualistic fungus, while its fungivorous mites primarily transport another fungus, and (3) based on the prevalence of yeasts in bark beetle symbioses, that a mutualistic interaction with blue-stain fungi present in that system may exist. Grosmannia clavigera was the most frequent JPB symbiont; however, the new here reported antagonist, Ophiostoma minus, was second in frequency. As hypothesized, JPB mostly carried its mutualist fungus while another fungus (i.e., antagonistic) was mainly carried by mites, but no fungal transport was obligate. Furthermore, we found a novel mutualistic interaction between the yeast Kuraishia molischiana and G. clavigera which fostered a growth advantage at temperatures associated with beetle colonization.
Keywordsmutualist; antagonist; blue-stain fungus; fungal biome; population regulation
Mercado, Javier E.; Ortiz-Santana, Beatriz; Kay, Shannon L. 2021. Endemic Jeffrey pine beetle associates: Beetle/mite fungal dissemination strategies and interactions that may influence beetle population levels. Microorganisms. 9: 1641. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9081641.