Pathogenic Fungi can infect a wide variety of organisms, including Plants, Animals and other Fungi. In Animals species that infect Vertebrates are well studied, but less attention has been paid to Invertebrate-infecting species, and most studies on such species have concentrated on Insects, particularly economically significant ones. Spiders have softer, more permeable integuments than Insects, and are potentially more vulnerable to Fungal infections, but far fewer species of Spider-infecting Fungi have been described than Insect-infecting species. The Spider-infecting, or araneogenous, species that have been described are generally Ascomycote Fungi closely related to Insect-infecting, or entomogenous, species, though, as with Insect-infecting Fungi, each species typically has a single host species.
In a paper published in the journal Phytotaxa on 28 March 2017, Wan-Hao Chen, of the Institute of Entomology and Institute of Fungus Resources at Guizhou University and the Provincial Special Key Laboratory for Development and Utilization of Insect Resources, Yan-Feng Han and Zong-Qi Liang, also of the Institute of Fungus Resources at Guizhou University, and Dao-Chao Jin, also of the Institute of Entomology at Guizhou University and the Provincial Special Key Laboratory for Development and Utilization of Insect Resources, describe a new species of araneogenous Fungus from Guizhou Province, China.
The new species is placed in the genus Beauveria, which also contains several Insect-infecting species, though other members of the genus are soil-living Fungi which break down dead plant and animal material, and is given the specific name araneola, referring to its host-Spider. The species is described from a single infected Spider collected from a vegetable field at the Experimental Farm of Guizhou University, and determined to be a new species by genetic analysis.
Spider infected with Beauveria araneola. Chen et al. (2017).
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