Journal Article Soil burrowing Muscina angustifrons (Diptera: Muscidae) larvae excrete spores capable of forming mycorrhizae underground

Kitabayashi, Keiko  ,  Tuno, Nobuko

59 ( 3 )  , pp.252 - 258 , 2018-05-01 , Elsevier B.V.
Muscina angustifrons (Diptera: Muscidae) is a mycophagous species that exploits a variety of fungi, including ectomycorrhizal fungi. Larvae of this species have been shown to feed on sporocarps (including spores), and full-grown larvae leave sporocarps and pupate 0-6 cm below the soil surface. In this study, we examined whether M. angustifrons larvae are capable of transporting ectomycorrhizal fungal spores and enhancing ectomycorrhiza growth on host-plant roots. Full-grown larvae were found to move horizontally 10-20 cm from their feeding sites and burrow underground. These wandering larvae retained ectomycorrhizal fungal spores in their intestines, which were excreted following relocation to underground pupation sites. Excreted spores retained germination and infection capacities to form ectomycorrhiza on host-plant roots. In the infection experiments, ectomycorrhizal fungal spores applied in the vicinity of underground host-plant roots were more effective in forming ectomycorrhiza than those applied to the ground surface, suggesting that belowground transportation of spores by M. angustifrons larvae could enhance ectomycorrhizal formation. These results suggested that M. angustifrons larvae act as a short-distance spore transporter of ectomycorrhizal fungi. © 2018.
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