, Volume 18, Issue 6, pp 1695-1714

Diversity and abundance of nematode-trapping fungi from decaying litter in terrestrial, freshwater and mangrove habitats

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Nematode-trapping fungi are ubiquitous in terrestrial habitats in dung, soils, litter and woody debris and they also occur in freshwater, but only one species has been found in marine habitats. The purpose of this study was therefore to investigate whether nematode-trapping fungi occurred in mangrove habitats. To achieve this we assessed the diversity of nematode-trapping fungi on decaying litter from mangroves, freshwater and terrestrial habitats (22 sites) in Hong Kong. Composite samples (n = 1,320) of decaying litter (wood and leaves) were examined and a total of 31 species of nematode-trapping fungi belonging to four genera, Arthrobotrys, Monacrosporium, and Dactylella were recorded. Twenty-nine species reported in this study are new records for Hong Kong and 16 species are new records from mangrove habitats worldwide. Nematode trapping fungi are therefore present in marine environments. Commonly encountered taxa were Arthrobotrys oligospora and Monacrosporium thaumasium which are abundant in all habitats. A. oligospora, M. thaumasium and Arthrobotrys musiformis were frequent (> 10%). Twenty-six species were rare (0.16–9.32%). Species richness and diversity was higher in terrestrial than in freshwater and mangrove habitats (ANOVA, < 0.001). A higher mean diversity was observed on decaying leaves as compared to decaying wood in all habitats (< 0.001). Based on Shannon diversity index, it was also observed that taxa characterized by adhesive nets were more frequent in all habitats. This can be explained by the fact that these taxa may have a better competitive saprotrophic ability which would allow them to compete favourably in nutrient limited environments. Abiotic factors that could be linked to differences in species diversity between decaying wood and leaves are also discussed.