Dispersion and colonization by fungus-growing termites: Vertical transmission of the symbiont helps, but then...?

Tânia Nobre*, Durr K. Aanen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The fungus-growing termites (Macrotermitinae) have developed an obligate mutualistic symbiosis with fungi (Termitomyces) and, in most cases, the symbiotic partner is collected from the environment upon establishment of a new colony (horizontal transmission). The requirement that partners are able to find and recognize each other af this hypothesis, we have recently shown that a single colonisation of Madagascar by fungus-growter independent reproduction is likely to severely constrain long distance dispersal. In support ofing termites has occurred. The successful colonizers belong to the genus Microtermes, known to inherit their symbiont from the parental colony (vertical transmission). However, the fungal symbionts of Madagascar were not monophyletic, as expected under strict vertical transmission. Here we further discuss these findings, and we suggest further bottlenecks to dispersion and propose a transient window for horizontal transmission for the otherwise vertically transmitted Termitomyces strains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-250
Number of pages3
JournalCommunicative & Integrative Biology
Volume3
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2010

Keywords

  • Long-distance dispersal
  • Microtermes
  • Mutualism
  • Symbiont transmission mode
  • Termitomyces
  • Vertical transmission

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