Gibellula flava sp. nov. (Cordycipitaceae, Hypocreales), a new pathogen of spider from China

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Gibellula is an exclusively spider-pathogen genus, with most species immediately recognized by their distinctive conidial state, but also including the teleomorphic states of these fungi that were previously included in the rejected genus Torrubiella. Two sexual specimens and an asexual morph specimen were collected from Anhui Province, China, and were recognized as the same species based on molecular evidence. Its asexual morph differs from Gibellula pulchra, to which it is morphologically similar, in having shorter verrucose conidiophores with slightly smaller metulae, phialides and conidia. Its sexual morph is characterized by producing superficial and elongate ellipsoid small perithecia with short asci on a cream-yellow mycelial mat covering the host. Multi-locus (SSU, LSU, TEF, and RPB1) phylogenetic analyses showed that the specimens belong to a strongly supported subclade, and formed a sister subclade with G. pulchra and Gibellula sp. A combination of morphological characteristics and its phylogenetic placement confirmed that these unique specimens are a new species, which is described as Gibellula flava.

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... Based mainly on morphological and scarce molecular data, Gibellula remained the valid name for all the species formerly included within the genera Gibellula and Granulomanus, and those sexual morphs formerly described as Torrubiella (Kepler et al. 2017). Currently, at least half of the valid species of Gibellula do not have genomic data available (Chen et al. 2021;Kuephadungphan et al. 2019Kuephadungphan et al. , 2022Shrestha et al. 2019), or in the best-case scenario, only a limited dataset of a few genomic regions is accessible (e.g., NCBI-GenBank and UNITE Databases) (NCBI Resource Coordinators et al. 2018;Nilsson et al. 2019). Therefore, considering recent morphological and molecular investigations, the combination of both molecular and morphological characters is essential to propose and characterize new species within Gibellula. ...
... Fig. 4), which confirms the hypothesis of a new species initially suggested by morphological and phylogenetic analyses. Species that have been recently described with sequences for most of the genomic regions (Chen et al. 2021(Chen et al. , 2022Kuephadungphan et al. 2019Kuephadungphan et al. , 2020Kuephadungphan et al. , 2022 also showed lower intraspecific than interspecific distances for the genomic markers shown here. Some sequences described only at the genus level were closer to described species, such as G. pulchra and G. leiopus, which might help to clarify the identity of these specimens (Fig. 4). ...
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Fungal parasites that infect spiders can affect their survival and potentially their behaviour. The genus Gibellula (Ascomycota, Cordycipitaceae) infects arachnids, and due to difficulties in identifying hosts after fungal sporulation, its ecology and spider host diversity are poorly understood. Herein, we propose a new species of Gibellula from the Brazilian Atlantic Forest: Gibellula aurea, which parasitizes two spider families (Anyphaenidae and Corinnidae). Gibellula aurea exhibits characteristic golden-yellow hyphae that completely cover hosts and white conidiophores emerging along synnemata or directly from hosts. Molecular identification was performed by sequencing the small and large nuclear ribosomal subunits, translation elongation factor, and RNA polymerase II second largest subunit regions, and reconstructing multigene phylogenetic trees. Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian Inference phylogenies demonstrate that G. aurea forms a well-supported clade closer to G. flava, G. gamsii, G. leiopus, G. longispora, G. pigmentosinum, and G. pulchra. The phylogenetic reconstruction displayed herein represents the most comprehensive phylogeny for this genus to date. Spider hosts parasitized by G. aurea have been invariably found attached underneath leaves in vegetation, regardless of the identity of the infected hosts. The consistency of the death locations of G. aurea hosts indicates recurrent behaviour given the habitat heterogeneity of these host groups. Nevertheless, it is still unclear to what extent the place where hosts die can favour parasite fitness.
... The sexual morph of Gibellula is well-known for forming a torrubiella-like state and ascospores that disarticulate into part-spores. Species in Gibellula have been reported from several countries including China, Ecuador, Ghana, Taiwan and Thailand (Samson and Evans 1992;Hsieh et al. 1997;Kuephadungphan et al. 2020;Chen et al. 2021a). ...
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Collections of pathogenic fungi found on spiders from Thailand were selected for a detailed taxonomic study. Morphological comparison and phylogenetic analyses of the combined ITS, LSU, tef1 , rpb1 and rpb2 sequence data indicated that these specimens formed new independent lineages within the Cordycipitaceae, containing two new genera occurring on spiders, i.e. Jenniferia gen. nov. and Polystromomyces gen. nov. Two new species in Jenniferia , J. griseocinerea sp. nov. and J. thomisidarum sp. nov. , are described. Two strains, NHJ 03510 and BCC 2191, initially named as Akanthomyces cinereus ( Hevansia cinerea ), were shown to be part of Jenniferia . By including sequences of putative Hevansia species from GenBank, we also revealed Parahevansia as a new genus with the ex-type strain NHJ 666.01 of Pa. koratensis , accommodating specimens previously named as Akanthomyces koratensis ( Hevansia koratensis ). One species of Polystromomyces , Po. araneae sp. nov. , is described. We established an asexual-sexual morph connection for Hevansia novoguineensis (Cordycipitaceae) with ex-type CBS 610.80 and proposed a new species, H. minuta sp. nov. Based on characteristics of the sexual morph, Hevansia and Polystromomyces share phenotypic traits by producing stipitate ascoma with fertile terminal heads; however, they differ in the shape and colour of the stipes. Meanwhile, Jenniferia produces non-stipitate ascoma with aggregated superficial perithecia forming a cushion. A new morphology of ascospores in Jenniferia is described, illustrated and compared with other species in Cordycipitaceae.
... Recently, we also found and published a new Gibellula species with Torrubiella-like sexual morph. Overall, ten species or varieties have been reported in China (Kuephadungphan et al. 2020;Chen et al. 2021 The specimens used in this study were collected from Anhui and Guangdong Provinces, which suggests that the two new species may be widely distributed in southern China. Kuephadungphan et al. (2020) indicated that host specificity can be used to assess the virulence and potential of biocontrol agents. ...
Gibellula penicillioides sp. nov. and G. longispora sp. nov. , two new species parasitising spiders collected in China, are illustrated and described, based on morphological features and multiloci phylogenetic analysis. The G. penicillioides sp. nov. group is sister to the G. scorpioides group, but form long penicilloid conidiophore producing enlarged fusiform conidia ((7–) 7.5–9 (–10) × 2.5–3.5 μm). G. longispora sp. nov. is sister to G. pigmentosinum , but has slender long conidia (5–7 × 1–2 μm); teleomorph and Granulomanus-synanamorphic conidiogenous cells are absent in these two species. Type specimens of G. penicillioides sp. nov. and G. longispora sp. nov. were deposited in the Anhui Agricultural University (RCEF). In addition, a key to all known species of Gibellula is illustrated.
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