New Raffaelea species (Ophiostomatales) from the USA and Taiwan associated with ambrosia beetles and plant hosts
Raffaelea (Ophiostomatales) is a genus of more than 20 ophiostomatoid fungi commonly occurring in symbioses with wood-boring ambrosia beetles. We examined ambrosia beetles and plant hosts in the USA and Taiwan for the presence of these mycosymbionts and found 22 isolates representing known and undescribed lineages in Raffaelea. From 28S rDNA and ß-tubulin sequences, we generated a molecular phylogeny of Ophiostomatales and observed morphological features of seven cultures representing undescribed lineages in Raffaelea s. lat. From these analyses, we describe five new species in Raffaelea s. lat.: R. aguacate, R. campbellii, R. crossotarsa, R. cyclorhipidia, and R. xyleborina spp. nov. Our analyses also identified two plant-pathogenic species of Raffaelea associated with previously undocumented beetle hosts: (1) R. quercivora, the causative agent of Japanese oak wilt, from Cyclorhipidion ohnoi and Crossotarsus emancipatus in Taiwan, and (2) R. lauricola, the pathogen responsible for laurel wilt, from Ambrosiodmus lecontei in Florida. The results of this study show that Raffaelea and associated ophiostomatoid fungi have been poorly sampled and that future investigations on ambrosia beetle mycosymbionts should reveal a substantially increased diversity.