Fertilization of epichloë typhina stromata by mycophagous slugs

George D. Hoffman, Sujaya Rao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Epichloë typhina, a fungal endophyte of cool season grasses, is heterothallic and an obligate out-crosser. In areas of endemism, its spermatia are moved between stromata of the two opposite mating types through egg-laying activities of Botanophila flies. In western Oregon, where the fungus was inadvertently introduced into seed-production fields of Dactylis glomerata (5 orchardgrass, cocksfoot), flies do not appear to be the sole vectors for E. typhina fertilization. Here we examined the role of the common agricultural slug pest Deroceras reticulatum and mycophagous slug species Prophysaon andersoni and Arion subfuscus in E. typhina permatia transfer. Frass from P. andersoni, A. subfuscus and D. reticulatum fed stromata of one mating type was transferred to stromata of the opposite mating type, resulting in 100%, 93% and 25% stromata fertilization respectively. An experiment designed to mimic field conditions examined stromata fertilization on E. typhina-infected plants of opposite mating type in the presence of slugs. Treatments with P. andersoni and D. reticulatum had greater stromata fertilization compared to the no-slug control, but the slug treatments were not different. This appears to be the first report of mollusks vectoring viable spermatia leading to the cross fertilization of stromata of different mating types.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalMycologia
Volume106
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Choke disease
  • Clavicipitaceae
  • Dactylis glomerata
  • Fungal endophyte
  • Gastropoda
  • Mollusks

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