Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/1/2016
Publication Date: 3/1/2016
Citation: Humber, R.A. 2016. Book Chapter Title: Entomophthoromycota: a new overview of some of the oldest terrestrial fungi. In Biology of Microfungi (D. Li, ed). Cham: Springer International Publishing Switzerland. p. 127-145.
Interpretive Summary: This book chapter presents a summary of recent phylogenetically based revisions of the systematics of the recently described fungal phylum Entomophthoromycota. There is discussion of some of the more controversial and difficult issues still awaiting resolution by further molecular studies on these fungi. A major portion of the chapter quickly sketches out some of the most important aspects of the biology of these fungi and about how they operate as pathogens mainly affecting insects but also as pathogens of nematodes and, in two genera, of desmid algae and of a little seen stage in the life history of ferns. The very first photomicrographs of the fern parasitic fungus COMPLETORIA COMPLENS are presented; this rare fungus has been little seen in the last century, and these photos (from a 120 year old slide prepared and used for the last major publication on this fungus) show some of its more remarkable features.
Technical Abstract: The Entomophthoromycota is a newly described fungal phylum comprising what seem to be the oldest of all extant terrestrial (nonflagellate) fungi. These fungi, formerly treated in the now rejected Zygomycota, form a monophyletic group that is genetically, morphologically, developmentally, and biologically distinct from all other zygomycetous fungi. The phylogenetically based revision of these fungi in a new phylum validated the previous, traditionally based classification of all of these fungi in six families although these families are now redistributed among three classes in the phylum. The general biology of these fungi is outlined here as a means of both underscoring the appropriateness of this new classification. A series of systematics questions about these fungi still need to be addressed through further studies, and perhaps through finding more genes that might be appropriate for discovering the phylogenetic relationships among these fungi.