Pseudocospeciation of the mycoparasite Cosmospora with their fungal hosts

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Ecology and Evolution 2016; 6(5): 1504– 1514, doi: 10.1002/ece3.1967


Species of Cosmospora are parasites of other fungi (mycoparasites), including species belonging to the Xylariales. Based on prior taxonomic work, these fungi were determined to be highly host specific. We suspected that the association of Cosmospora and their hosts could not be a result of random chance, and tested the cospeciation of Cosmospora and the their hosts with contemporary methods (e.g., ParaFit, PACo, and Jane). The cophylogeny of Cosmospora and their hosts was found to be congruent, but only host-parasite links in more recent evolutionary lineages of the host were determined as coevolutionary. Reconciliation reconstructions determined at least five host-switch events early in the evolution of Cosmospora. Additionally, the rates of evolution between Cosmospora and their hosts were unequal. This pattern is more likely to be explained by pseudocospeciation (i.e., host switches followed by cospeciation), which also produces congruent cophylogenies.


Funding for Open Access provided by the UMD Libraries Open Access Publishing Fund.