Diversity, Ecology and Evolution of Myrmecophilous Ophiocordyceps

Open Access
Author:
Araujo, Joao Paulo
Graduate Program:
Biology
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
May 31, 2017
Committee Members:
  • David Peter Hughes, Dissertation Advisor
  • James Harold Marden, Committee Chair
  • David Michael Geiser, Committee Member
  • Benoit A Dayrat, Committee Member
  • n/a, Outside Member
Keywords:
  • Ophiocordyceps
  • Formicidae
  • Ants
  • Neotropics
  • Taxonomy
  • Evolution
  • Hosts-pathogens
  • Hypocreales
Abstract:
Entomopathogenic species are found within five of the eight phyla of Fungi (Microsporidia, Chytridiomycota, Entomophthoromycota, Basidiomycota and Ascomycota). The entomopathogenic species within these phyla have developed strategies to reach, colonize, infect and transmit within species across 19 of the 30 orders of insects. Microsporidians infect 14 orders, Chytridiomycota 3, Entomophthoromycota 10, Basidiomycota 2 and fungi in the phylum Ascomycota infect 13 orders of insects. Each of these fungal groups have evolved unique and complex ecological and morphological traits that allowed them to reach – and persist – in the host environment. However, one genus stands out by its diversity, broad range of hosts and complex life cycle, which involves extremely sophisticated behavioral manipulation, those are Ophiocordyceps species. In this Dissertation, I explore different aspects on Ophiocordyceps taxonomy, ecology, systematics and evolution.