Sporodiniella umbellata MES 1446 v1.0
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Figures 1 and 2) Sporangiophores of S. umbellata which arise directly from the substrate, forming an umbel and then each branch forms a secondary umbel.
Figures 3 and 4) The secondary umbels branch dichotomously, one branch terminating in a sporangium and other in a sterile spine. Images by Gerald Benny and Kerry O'Donnell.
Figures 1 and 2) Sporangiophores of S. umbellata which arise directly from the substrate, forming an umbel and then each branch forms a secondary umbel. Figures 3 and 4) The secondary umbels branch dichotomously, one branch terminating in a sporangium and other in a sterile spine. Images by Gerald Benny and Kerry O'Donnell.

Sporodiniella umbellatea is a monotypic genus in the Rhizopodaceae (Mucorales, Mucoromycotina, Mucoromycota). The only described species, Sporodiniella umbellata Boedijn, is a facultative parasite of insect larvae. This species has been reported from across the tropics, including from Ecuador, Indonesia and Taiwan (Boedijn 1958, Evans and Samson 1977, Chien and Huang 1997). This species may be an important pathogen of membracids (treehoppers) and other insects in cocoa farms in Ecuador (Evans and Samson 1977). Sporodiniella umbellata has been found on spiders in Japan (Degawa 2006) and a wide variety of insect hosts including butterflies, cicadas, caterpillars, grasshoppers and from orchard soils in Palestine (Ali-Shtayeh et al. 2002). The genome strain of Sporodiniella umbellata (culture MES-1446) was isolated from a golden silk orb-weaver spider (Nephila sp.) collected near Perry in Taylor County, Florida. This appears to represent the first report of S. umbellata from the US.

Zygospores normally are not produced in culture but they have been observed within infected insect larvae that were collected in the field (Evans and Samson 1977). Degawa (2006) also reported that S. umbellata is heterothallic. The zygospores have a dark, ornamented, zygosporangial wall with opposed suspensors.

The sporangiophores arise directly from the substrate, forming an umbel and then each branch forms a secondary umbel (Figs. 1-2).  The secondary umbels branch dichotomously, one branch terminating in a sporangium and other in a sterile spine (Figs. 3-4). The sporangia are more or less globose, columellate, multi-spored and have a deliquescent wall. The sporangiospores are globose to ovoid and the wall is spinose. Sporodiniella umbellata and Syzygites megalocarpus both form sporangiospores with spinose walls (Ekpo and Young, 1979; Gbaja and Young, 1985), an unusual type of spore ornamentation in the Mucorales.

The genome sequence of Sporodiniella umbellata was sequenced within the framework of the 1000 Fungal Genome Project to advance our understanding of evolution of the early diverging fungi.

References

Ali-Shtayeh MS, Mara’I A-B BM, Jamous RM. 2002 [2003]. Distribution, occurrence and characterization of entomopathogenic fungi in agriculture soil in the Palestinian area. Mycopathologia 156:235-244.

Boedijn, KB. 1958 [1959]. Notes on the Mucorales of Indonesia. Sydowia 12:321-362.

Chien C-Y, Huang B-C. 1997. First record of the occurrence of Sporodiniella umbellata (Mucorales) in Taiwan. Mycoscience 38:343-346.

Degawa Y. 2006. Heterothallism in insecticolous mucoralean fungus Sporodiniella umbellata new to Japan. Abstract. The 50th Anniversary of Annual Meeting for the Mycological Society of Japan. ID: 54-B. (http://doi.org/10.11556/msj7abst.50.0.54.0 ). In Japanese [Google Translate].

Ekpo EJA, Young TWK. 1979. Fine structure of the dormant and germinating sporangiospore of Syzygites megalocarpus (Mucorales) with notes on Sporodiniella umbellata. Microbios Letters 10:63-68.

Evans HC, Samson RA. 1977. Sporodiniella umbellata, an entomogenous fungus of the Mucorales from cocoa farms in Ecuador. Canad. J. Bot. 55:2981-2984.

Gbaja IS, Young TWK. 1985. Ultrastructure of the anamorph of Sporodiniella umbellata (Mucorales). Microbios 42:263-272.