Novel ophiostomatalean fungi from galleries of Cyrtogenius africus (Scolytinae) infesting dying Euphorbia ingens

03 May 2016

Euphorbia ingens trees have been dying in large numbers in the Limpopo Province of South Africa for approximately 15 years. The ambrosia beetle Cyrtogenius africus is often found infesting diseased and dying trees. The aim of this study was to identify the ophiostomatoid fungi occurring in the galleries of C. africus. Logs infested with this beetle were collected from the KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, and North West Provinces of South Africa. Fungi belonging to the Ophiostomatales were identified based on morphology and comparison of sequence data for the b-tubulin, ITS1-5.8S-ITS2 and LSU gene regions. A novel species of Ophiostoma and a novel genus in the Ophiostomatales were identified. Inoculation studies with these fungi produced lesions in the branches of healthy E. ingens trees.