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22 December 2021 First Look Into the Ambrosia Beetle–Fungus Symbiosis Present in Commercial Avocado Orchards in Michoacán, Mexico
M. Ángel-Restrepo, P. P. Parra, S. Ochoa-Ascencio, S. Fernández-Pavía, G. Vázquez-Marrufo, A. Equihua-Martínez, A. F. Barrientos-Priego, R. C. Ploetz, J. L. Konkol, J. R. Saucedo-Carabez, R. Gazis
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Abstract

Most beetle–fungus symbioses do not represent a threat to agricultural and natural ecosystems; however, a few beetles are able to inoculate healthy hosts with disease-causing fungal symbionts. Here, we report the putative nutritional symbionts associated with five native species of ambrosia beetles colonizing commercial avocado trees in four locations in Michoacán. Knowing which beetles are present in the commercial orchards and the surrounding areas, as well as their fungal associates, is imperative for developing a realistic risk assessment and an effective monitoring system that allows for timely management actions. Phylogenetic analysis revealed five potentially new, previously undescribed species of Raffaelea, and three known species (R. arxi, R. brunnea, R. fusca). The genus Raffaelea was recovered from all the beetle species and across the different locations. Raffaelea lauricola (RL), which causes a deadly vascular fungal disease known as laurel wilt (LW) in Lauraceae species, including avocado, was not recovered. This study points to the imminent danger of native ambrosia beetles spreading RL if the pathogen is introduced to Mexico's avocado orchards or natural areas given that these beetles are associated with Raffaelea species and that lateral transfer of RL among ambrosia beetles in Florida suggests that the likelihood of this phenomenon increases when partners are phylogenetically close. Therefore, this study provides important information about the potential vectors of RL in Mexico and other avocado producing regions. Confirming beetle–fungal identities in these areas is especially important given the serious threat laurel wilt disease represents to the avocado industry in Mexico.

© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.
M. Ángel-Restrepo, P. P. Parra, S. Ochoa-Ascencio, S. Fernández-Pavía, G. Vázquez-Marrufo, A. Equihua-Martínez, A. F. Barrientos-Priego, R. C. Ploetz, J. L. Konkol, J. R. Saucedo-Carabez, and R. Gazis "First Look Into the Ambrosia Beetle–Fungus Symbiosis Present in Commercial Avocado Orchards in Michoacán, Mexico," Environmental Entomology 51(2), 385-396, (22 December 2021). https://doi.org/10.1093/ee/nvab142
Received: 3 April 2021; Accepted: 16 November 2021; Published: 22 December 2021
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KEYWORDS
fungus–beetle association
laurel wilt
plant health
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