Laboulbeniomycetes: Intimate Fungal Associates of Arthropods
Arthropod-fungus interactions involving the Laboulbeniomycetes have been pondered for several hundred years. Early studies of Laboulbeniomycetes faced several uncertainties. Were they parasitic worms, red algal relatives, or fungi? If they were fungi, to which group did they belong? What was the nature of their interactions with their arthropod hosts? The historical misperceptions resulted from the extraordinary morphological features of these oddly constructed ectoparasitic fungi. More recently, molecular phylogenetic studies, in combination with a better understanding of life histories, have clearly placed these fungi among filamentous Ascomycota (subphylum Pezizomycotina). Species discovery and research on the classification of the group continue today as arthropods, and especially insects, are routinely collected and examined for the presence of Laboulbeniomycetes. Newly armed with molecular methods, mycologists are poisedto use Laboulbeniomycetes-insect associations as models for the study of a variety of basic evolutionary and ecological questions involving host-parasite relationships, modes of nutrient intake, population biology, host specificity, biological control, and invasion biology. Collaboration between mycologists and entomologists is essential to successfully advance knowledge of Laboulbeniomycetes and their intimate association with their hosts.
Publication Source (Journal or Book title)
Annual review of entomology
Haelewaters, D., Blackwell, M., & Pfister, D. H. (2021). Laboulbeniomycetes: Intimate Fungal Associates of Arthropods. Annual review of entomology, 66, 257-276. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-ento-013020-013553