, Volume 73, Issue 11, pp 1053–1066 | Cite as

Two blue-stain fungi colonizing Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) trees infested by bark beetles in Slovakia, Central Europe

  • Katarína PastirčákováEmail author
  • Katarína Adamčíková
  • Martin Pastirčák
  • Peter Zach
  • Juraj Galko
  • Martin Kováč
  • Juraj Laco
Original Article


Excessive mortality of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) trees has recently been observed in the Záhorská nížina lowland in western Slovakia, Central Europe. Continuous drought, bark beetles and blue-stain fungi are likely to play a crucial role in this dieback of pines in a warm sandy area. Two blue-stain fungi, Ophiostoma ips and Ophiostoma minus, were found here on Scots pine trunks infested by bark beetles. These fungi were isolated and identified based on morphological properties and DNA sequences (ITS, LSU, β-tubulin). They colonized the inner bark, phloem and blue-stained sapwood, and were recorded in the galleries of Orthotomicus longicollis and other species of this genus. The occurrence of O. minus was massive; the fungus was found to produce perithecia abundantly in dying pines. Detailed descriptions, illustrations and global distribution of the two fungal species on host pine species are provided. The records of O. ips and those of O. minus are new for the mycoflora of Slovakia. Undetermined mycophagous nematodes were found inside the perithecia of O. ips. The role of bark beetles as real and potential vectors (Ips spp., Orthotomicus spp., Tomicus spp., Hylurgus ligniperda, Hylastes sp.) of blue-stain fungi in a declining pine forest is discussed.


Ophiostoma ITS LSU β-Tubulin Scolytinae 



This study was initiated by foresters from the Military Forests and Estates of the Slovak Republic, the Branch Office in Malacky. We sincerely thank Gretchen Freed (Washington State University, Pullman, WA, USA) for kindly correcting the English. Slavomír Adamčík (Plant Science and Biodiversity Center of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia) is acknowledged for his kind help with sequence editing and aligning. We would like to thank the reviewer for his/her positive and insightful comments on the manuscript. The Scientific Grant Agency of the Ministry of Education of the Slovak Republic and of Slovak Academy of Sciences provided financial support to this study under the projects VEGA 2/0071/14 and VEGA 2/0052/15.

Compliance with ethical standards

All authors are aware with the content of the manuscript and have agreed upon its submission to Biologia. The manuscript has not been published previously, and is not under consideration (in whole or in part) for publication elsewhere.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Plant Science and Biodiversity Centre, Slovak Academy of Sciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Forest Ecology, Department of Plant Pathology and MycologySlovak Academy of SciencesNitraSlovakia
  2. 2.National Agricultural and Food CentreResearch Institute of Plant ProductionPiešťanySlovakia
  3. 3.Institute of Forest Ecology, Department of Animal and Ecosystem InteractionsSlovak Academy of SciencesZvolenSlovakia
  4. 4.National Forest Centre, Forest Protection ServiceBanská ŠtiavnicaSlovakia
  5. 5.Military Forests and Estates of the Slovak Republic, SOE, Branch Office MalackyMalackySlovakia

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