Five new species of Moelleriella infecting scale insects (Coccidae) in Thailand

Abstract

The genus Moelleriella mostly occur on scale insects and whiteflies. It is characterized by producing brightly colored stromata, obpyriform to subglobose perithecia, cylindrical asci, disarticulating ascospores inside the ascus, and fusiform conidia, predominantly found in tropical and occasionally subtropical regions. Scale insects and whiteflies’ pathogens were found during our surveys and collections of entomopathogenic fungi. Investigations of morphological characters and multi-locus phylogenetic analyses based on partial sequences of LSU, TEF, and RPB1 were made. Five new species of Moelleriella are described here, including M. chiangmaiensis, M. flava, M. kanchanaburiensis, M. nanensis, and M. nivea. They were found on scale insects, mostly forming flat to thin, umbonate, whitish stromata. Their anamorphic and teleomorphic states were mostly often on the same stroma, possessing obpyriform perithecia, cylindrical asci with disarticulating ascospores. Their conidiomata are widely open with several locules per stroma, containing cylindrical phialides and fusiform conidia. However, M. flava has yellow stromata with one conidioma per stroma, and M. kanchanaburiensis was found only in its anamorphic state. Furthermore, the perithecia of M. nanensis were completely embedded in stromata as opposed to other species with semi-immersed perithecia. We also found a teleomorph link to M. sinensis, a species described based on anamorphic stage previously reported from southeastern China.

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Data availability

All sequence data generated in this study (see Table 1) are available in GenBank (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/genbank/).

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Acknowledgements

We gratefully acknowledge the Royal Forest Department of Thailand, Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation of Thailand (DNP), for permission to survey and collect insect fungi in national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. We thank the staff of Plant Microbe Interaction Research Team (APMT members; Boonchan Thongnuch, Donnaya Thanakitpipattana, Jiranan Techaprasarn, Kanoksri Tasanathai, and Rachada Promharn) for collecting samples and providing specimens and cultures. We also thank Dr. Noppol Kobmoo for editing the manuscript.

Funding

This study was supported by the National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC) Platform Technology Management (Grant no. P19-50231)

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The samples in this study were collected by A. Khonsanit, J.J. Luangsa-ard, S. Mongkolsamrit, W. Noisripoom, and APMT members. Mophological investigations were observed and illustrated by A. Khonsanit. The insect hosts were identified by N. Phosrithong. Description of the new and known species were described by A. Khonsanit and S. Mongkolsamrit. Molecular data and phylogenetic analyses were performed by W. Noisripoom. A. Khonsanit and S. Mongkolsamrit wrote the original draft, and review and editing were performed by A. Khonsanit, S. Mongkolsamrit, and J.J. Luangsa-ard. All authors have read and approved the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Janet Jennifer Luangsa-ard.

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Khonsanit, A., Noisripoom, W., Mongkolsamrit, S. et al. Five new species of Moelleriella infecting scale insects (Coccidae) in Thailand. Mycol Progress 20, 847–867 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11557-021-01709-5

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Keywords

  • Clavicipitaceae
  • Entomopathogenic fungi
  • Hypocreales
  • Phylogeny
  • Taxonomy