Symbiont Spillover from Invasive to Native Woodwasps
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Hosts and their associated microbes are being increasingly introduced around the world, which can lead to novel host/microbe associations via new sympatries. Woodwasps (Hymenoptera: Siricidae) are able to utilize wood for its nutrients due to obligate mutualistic associations with white rot fungi in the genus Amylostereum and when invasive woodwasps are introduced to new areas, their symbionts accompany them. There is increasing evidence that woodwasp-fungus associations previously believed to be highly specific are actually flexible. We show that in North America, both Urocerus albicornis and Urocerus cressoni, which develop in trees in the Pinaceae, usually use Amylostereum chailletii but sometimes carry an Amylostereum areolatum strain putatively introduced to North America by the invasive woodwasp Sirex noctilio. Symbiont spillover from invasive to native hosts is a source of new host/introduced symbiont associations that could result in changes in microbes and host fitness with the potential to impact communities.
KeywordsMutualist Amylostereum White rot fungus Fungal fidelity Symbiont Urocerus
We thank Ryan Kepler, Sergio Angeli, and Stefan Long for isolating fungi from mycangia and organizing fungal cultures and Louela Castrillo for advice on the manuscript. This study was funded by USDA Forest Service Cooperative Agreement 12-CA-11420004-043 and USDA NIFA AFRI 2009-02182.
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