Laboulbenia on a carabid beetle

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jimmymac2
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Laboulbenia on a carabid beetle

Post by jimmymac2 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:46 pm

Hello

At the end of last year I collected a few carabid (ground beetle) specimens from my local nature reserve, yet it was not until today when trying to identify some of them that I noticed one had some sort of parasitic fungus growing on the rear of the pronotum and around the edge of the elytra that I had never seen before. Some quick internet research revealed that there were some fungi similar that grow on carabid beetles, namely Laboulbenia pedicellata and L.slackensis. I made a squash of the fungus when I finally detached it from the substrate (it was really firmly attached!) and I have attached a couple of photos of that as well as one fruit body on the rear of the elytra. I couldn't make out anything particular in the squash, however there was a tube-shaped thing with a hooked tip - no if that's important or even natural and not just where the tube-like structure has broken.

I will try and identify the beetle species, the fungus rather distracted me!

I would appreciate any help in narrowing it down to species, if that's possible!

James
Laboulbenia fungus1.jpg
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Laboulbenia fungus squash.jpg
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Laboulbenia fungus1.jpg
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Laboulbenia fungus1.jpg
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Laboulbenia fungus squash.jpg
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Laboulbenia fungus squash 2.jpg
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Always keep your eyes open... :shock:

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jimmymac2
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Re: Laboulbenia on a carabid beetle

Post by jimmymac2 » Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:35 am

The beetle has been identified as Patrobus atrorufus, a widespread beetle in the tribe Patrobini found in woodlands and wet grasslands.

James
Always keep your eyes open... :shock:

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Chris Yeates
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Re: Laboulbenia on a carabid beetle

Post by Chris Yeates » Sat Jan 20, 2018 8:56 pm

Hello James
What a splendid find. Although on what I can see I cannot be 100% certain of what you have there, if the host has been identified correctly this is presumably Laboulbenia fasciculata (= L. brachiata). I have come across it twice when examining museum collections of Yorkshire Coleoptera, both times on Patrobus atrorufus: http://www.fieldmycology.net/FRDBI/FRDB ... BNum=11092. Knowing the host is extremely important in this group, as you are probably aware. The "tube like thing" you describe is presumably the perithecium, and the "hooked tip" the agglutinated perithecial appendages - see: http://www.micro.nsdc.cn/newdb/cnjm/image28-115.jpg.

Laboulbeniales are remarkable fungi, unlike almost all the familiar basidiomycetes and ascomycetes they develop along a very fixed pattern, cell for cell. http://www.esf.edu/Laboulbeniales/ gives a very good background.

Hope that helps
Best wishes
Chris
"You must know it's right, the spore is on the wind tonight"
Steely Dan - "Rose Darling"

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Re: Laboulbenia on a carabid beetle

Post by jimmymac2 » Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:06 pm

Hi Chris

Thanks a lot for your comment. I wasn't even sure if it was fungal when I first saw it, so I'm amazed that it's possible to identify it (tentatively at least)! I'm fairly sure of the identity of the beetle. I'll definitely keep an eye out for more of this fungus on my beetle specimens.

Best wishes
James
Always keep your eyes open... :shock:

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Chris Yeates
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Re: Laboulbenia on a carabid beetle

Post by Chris Yeates » Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:51 pm

jimmymac2 wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:06 pm
Hi Chris

Thanks a lot for your comment. I wasn't even sure if it was fungal when I first saw it, so I'm amazed that it's possible to identify it (tentatively at least)! I'm fairly sure of the identity of the beetle. I'll definitely keep an eye out for more of this fungus on my beetle specimens.

Best wishes
James
That's a fair enough comment - so unusual are these fungi that mycologists doubted that they were fungal when first found. Interestingly, despite their varied appearance it would appear that the Laboulbeniales are monophyletic - i.e. all come from a common ancestral form - as they all have very similar spores, spindle-shaped, surrounded by a sticky coating (which obvioulsy helps them attach to their hosts) and with a septum towards one end - see: http://www.ascofrance.com/search_recolte/3820 (click on thumbnail, image at bottom left).
If you do find more on your collections, do keep them. I would be happy to look at them for you and (I hope) at least be able to produce high quality micro-photos for you. Sadly there is only a handful of people on the planet studying these remarkable fungi.
"You must know it's right, the spore is on the wind tonight"
Steely Dan - "Rose Darling"

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