Epidemiological traits of Escovopsis strains parasitizing the colonies of Apterostigma living in a sympatric population
YULIANA YIMARA CHRISTOPHER HERRERA, Yuliana Yimara Christopher , Hermógenes Fernández Marín
Centro de Biodiversidad y Descubrimiento de Drogas, Instituto de Investigaciones Científicas y Servicios de Alta Tecnología, , Ciudad del Saber, Panamá; Centro de Biodiversidad y Descubrimiento de Drogas, Instituto de Investigaciones Científicas y Servicios de Alta Tecnología, , Ciudad del Saber, Panamá ; Centro de Biodiversidad y Descubrimiento de Drogas, Instituto de Investigaciones Científicas y Servicios de Alta Tecnología, Ciudad del Saber, Panamá
Host-parasite interactions have complex relationships that affect resistance and infection responses of living organisms involved. Some systems provide appropriate structure (platform) model for study disease management during parasitic events. An example within social insects are fungus-growing ants and microbes, with a quadripartite symbiosis. The ants and the basidiomycete fungal cultivar in obligatory mutualism, the antibiotic-producing actinomycetes bacteria that growth of ant body as protection against the specialized mycoparasite Escovopsis. Here, we studied the diversity of Escovopsis attacking sympatric species of Apterostigma dentigerum and Apterostigma pilosum to understand arm-races between ant -fungal hosts species and parasite strains. Specifically, we evaluated biological traits and epidemiological parameters of five Escovopsis strains, such as growth rates and molecular analysis, hosts responses in individual and multiple parasitism over ant colonies and in confrontations experiments between fungal cultivar and Escovopsis. Our results showed that A. dentigerum and A. pilosum were infected by a similar diversity of fungal pathogens (yellow and brown morphotypes) that presented differences in their growth rates, but not found in molecular analysis. Moreover, we found the synergic use among defensive hygienic strategies used by ants and according to the threaten parasite (parasite-specific). We interpret these results as long-term strategies displayed by ant hosts at community level to prevent development of resistance towards their defenses and virulence evolution of shared parasites that could guarantee a stable coexistence of multiple parasites.