Plant Pathogenic Fungi Associated with Coraebus florentinus (Coleoptera: Buprestidae) Attacks in Declining Oak Forests
The black-banded oak borer, Coraebus florentinus, is an emerging pest of oak trees in the western Mediterranean region. Larvae of the insect are xylophagous and progressively excavate an annular gallery that interrupts sap flow, resulting in the death of the attacked branches. Until now, limited information has been available regarding the ecological interactions between C. florentinus and the main plant pathogenic fungi involved in the etiology of oak decline. Knowledge of these interactions
... hese interactions is important in understanding their impact in natural ecosystems and developing appropriate management strategies. Therefore, in this study, we characterized the fungal communities occurring in the exoskeleton of adults and larvae of C. florentinus and associated with the necrotic wood tissues surrounding the branch galleries of declining oak trees. A total of 29 fungal species were identified based on DNA sequence data and morphological features, of which 14 were from symptomatic woody tissues, six from insect exoskeleton, and nine from both insects and symptomatic wood tissues. The most frequent fungal species, Cryphonectria naterciae (15.9% of isolates), Dothiorella iberica (11.3%), and Diplodia corticola (9.9%), were isolated from both insect and gallery systems. All three species are well-known oak pathogens and are reported here, for the first time, to be associated with C. florentinus. At the same time, 89.6% of the fungal taxa were isolated from one or two sites, highlighting the site-dependence of fungal community assemblages.