Distribution of Harpellales (Kickxellomycotina) in Culicidae and Chironomidae in Puerto Rico
Harpellales fungi are obligate symbionts. They need a live host in order to grow and reproduce. They are found in the digestive tract of various arthropods (including insects), attached without penetration to the gut lining. The majority of the arthropods that are associated with Harpellales live in freshwater habitats like streams and lakes; common families include Chironomidae, Simuliidae and, Culicidae within the order Diptera and other insect orders such as Ephemeroptera and Plecoptera. In this investigation, we documented the diversity of Harpellales in the Culicidae and Chironomidae families found in Puerto Rico. We sampled mosquitoe (Culicidae) and bloodworm (Chironomidae) larvae in Arecibo, Hatillo and Mayaguez. After sampling and dissecting the collected larvae, we found three species of Harpellales. The first report for Arecibo was an unidentified Smittium species in the mosquito Aedes sp. In Chironomidae larvae we found two Stachylina species attached to the peritrophic membrane in the midgut, which have not been described. One of these closely resembles S. lentica with long-ellipsoidal trichospores with small collar and large appendage. Currently, we are working on the description of a new Stachylina species.