Matočec, Neven; Ozimec, Roman; Kušan, Ivana
Polycephalomyces ramosus (Hypocreales, Ascomycota) an interesting troglophilic entomogenous fungus, new for Croatia.
In: 21st International Conference on Subterranean Biology, 2–7 September, 2012, Košice, Slovakia (2012 - 7 September 2012) Košice, Slovačka.
During the regular monitoring on Veternica cave (Mt. Medvednica, Croatia) performed in cooperation of Croatian Biospeleological Society experts and Natural Park Medvednica, particular synnematous entomogenous fungus parasitizing on imago of subtroglophilic fly Heteromyza sp. (Heleomyzidae, Brachycera, Diptera) has been found. Specimens, found in the dark zone of the cave were sampled, microclimate data recorded and photo documentation performed. The fungus is identified as Polycephalomyces ramosus (Peck) Mains (Hypocreales, Ascomycota) according to the Seifert’s monograph on stilbellaceous fungi. This anamorphic ascomycetous fungus is often found in caves, living as a hyperparasite on entomogenous fungi viz. Hirsutella guignardii, Cordyceps barnesii and C. entomorrhiza. Relying on data compiled in form of preliminary checklist of Croatian cave fungi, this species is considered as first record for the Croatian mycobiota. This first finding of Polycephalomyces ramosus parasitizing on Heteromyza fly, give us opportunity to perform in situ morphological and ecological assessment and to work on its taxonomical status. Similarly to Cordyceps riverae treated in previous detailed ecological research, Polycephalomyces ramosus too is always found to produce fruitbodies (in this case synnemata) at extremely high air humidity (100%) and condensed water regularly appears on the surface of both synnemata and host bodies. Air temperature (10° C) is also constant ecological factor occurring in such large cave as Veternica, without daily fluctuations and negligible seasonal fluctuations. Both Polycephalomyces ramosus and Cordyceps riverae are members of the same order and may well be rather closely related, especially due to their common subterranean and cavernicolous habitat where they parasitize or hyperparasitize on adult stages of arthropods and both do not require sunlight for completion of their whole life cycle. They are therefore able to live constantly inside cave habitats. However, final conclusions on both taxonomical and ecological issues will be possible only after planned molecular research focused on these troglophilic fungal species.
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