Carrillo, J.D., Rugman-Jones, PF., Husein, D., Stajich, J.E., Kasson, M.T., Carrillo, D., Stouthamer, R., and Eskalen, A. 2019. Members of the Euwallacea fornicatus species complex exhibit promiscuous mutualism with ambrosia fungi in Taiwan. A number of ambrosia beetles have come to prominence in recent years because of the damage they inflict on a variety of trees within invaded habitats across the globe. Ambrosia beetles rely on symbiotic microorganisms, mainly fungi, as a dedicated food source and carry those microorganisms around with them within specialized organs termed mycangia. Investigation of members of the Euwallacea fornicatus species complex and their fungal symbionts in Taiwan revealed promiscuous symbioses with ambrosial Fusaria clade (AFC) members, Graphium spp., and Paracremonium spp. based on co-phylogenetic analyses. For AFC members, a novel diagnostic PCR assay targeting mating type genes MAT1-1-1 and MAT1-2-1 was developed and validated by amplicon size and sequencing. Mating type screening of AFC members revealed the isolates screened are all heterothallic (self-sterile), with both MAT types represented and recovered from fungi vectored by E. fornicatus (tea shot hole borer), E. kuroshio (Kuroshio shot hole borer), and E. whitfordiodendrus (polyphagous shot hole borer) in Taiwan. Members of the Euwallacea fornicatus species complex and the variety of ambrosia fungi they utilize further confirms that their relationship with these fungi are more likely promiscuous in native areas, as opposed to strictly obligate to a specific combination of fungi as observed in invaded areas.
Keywords: Ambrosia fungi; Euwallacea; Mating type; Mutualism; Mycangia; Symbiosis.
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