Record of Ophiocordyceps unilateralis sensu lato, the zombie-ant fungus, parasitizing Camponotus in an urban fragment of Atlantic Rainforest in southeastern Brazil

Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment 50 (1):1-3 (2015)
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Abstract

Ophiocordyceps is a fungal pathogen of ants of the tribe Camponotini. It is called zombie fungus, since it changes the host behavior, causing them to die in an exposed position, typically clinging onto and biting into the adaxial surface of shrub leaves. This study aimed to describe the occurrence of parasitic associations between Ophiocordyceps and ants of the genus Camponotus in an urban fragment of Atlantic Rainforest in southeastern Brazil and to measure the rate of hyperparasitism in Ophiocordyceps by other fungi in the same location. We found 57 individuals of four species of ants and three species of fungus. The age categories of fungi were equally distributed, and rate of hyperparasitism was 17.5% (n = 10). The sampled area was recognized as an important site of Ophiocordyceps occurrence.

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Bruno Barbosa
Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora

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