Biodiversity Science ›› 2018, Vol. 26 ›› Issue (12): 1308-1317.doi: 10.17520/biods.2018131

• Original Papers • Previous Article     Next Article

Species diversity and vertical distribution characteristics of Metarhizium in Gaoligong Mountains, southwestern China

Zihong Chen1, Xiaona Yang1, Ningjing Sun1, Ling Xu1, *(), Yuan Zheng2, Yuming Yang3   

  1. 1 Institute of Biological Resources of Gaoligong Mountains, Baoshan University, Baoshan, Yunnan 678000
    2 College of Forestry, Southwest Forestry University, Kunming 650224
    3 Key Laboratory of Forest Plant Cultivation and Utilization, Yunnan Academy of Forestry, Kunming 650201
  • Received:2018-05-03 Accepted:2018-07-04 Online:2019-02-11
  • Xu Ling
  • About author:# 同等贡献作者 Contributed equally to this work

Gaoligong Mountains in Yunnan Province, China have diverse ecological systems and biological resources. To understand the diversity and the vertical distribution of Metarhizium species at different elevations in this area, Metarhizium resources were investigated in seven typical vegetation types (i.e., I, dry-hot valley; II, monsoon evergreen broad-leaved forest; III, warm coniferous forest; IV, mod-montane humid evergreen broad-leaved forest; V, mountain moss dwarf forest; VI, cold shrubs of meadow; and VII, rocky beach sparsely vegetation) along an elevation gradient (600-3,800 m). Strains of Metarhizium were isolated from soils of the vegetations at different elevations and identified using multi-gene (nrSSU, nrLSU, EF-1α, RPB1, and RPB2) phylogenetic analysis. Our result indicated that the species of Metarhizium in Gaoligong Mountains were abundant and the obtained 161 strains represented 12 Metarhizium species, namely, M. rileyi, M. viridulum, M. lepidiotae, M. brunneum, M. pingshaense, M. anisopliae, M. robertsii, M. guizhouense, M. indigoticum, M. pemphigi, M. campsosterni, and Metacordyceps neogunnii, and most of them (8 species) belonged to M. anisopliae complex. Additionally, Nigelia martiale, a taxon close to Metarhizium was also found in this area. M. indigoticum is new to China. Fungi of Metarhizium in Gaoligong Mountains were widely distributed in six vegetation types at elevation between 600 m and 3,400 m, but not in type VII at the elevation of 3,600-3,800 m. The vegetations at the low and middle elevations (I-IV) harbored larger number of strains (≥ 23) and higher species diversity (4-9 species), whereas those at high elevations (V-VI) possessed fewer strains (2-8) and relatively limited species (1-2 species). Metarhizium resources were the most abundant in evergreen broad-leaved forests at the middle elevation. The monsoon evergreen broad-leaved forest (vegetation type II) possessed the largest number of Metarhizium strains (52 strains, 32.3% of the total) and species (9 species), while mid-montane humid evergreen broad-leaved forest (vegetation type IV) (47 strains, 29.2% of the total) was the next. The superior species phenomenon of Metarhizium was remarkable in Gaoligong Mountains, M. brunneum being the most dominant, at 46.6% of the total strain numbers. It widely exists in six vegetation types (I-VI) with very different habitat conditions, suggesting that this species has the highest ecologic adaptability.

Key words: Gaoligong Mountains, Metarhizium, phylogenetic analysis, species diversity, vertical distribution

Fig. 1

Colonies of Metarhizium species and other fungal materials in Gaoligong Mountains. (A) Colony of M. brunneum; (B) Colony of M. lepidiotae; (C) Colony of M. indigoticum; (D) Colony of M. campsosterni; (E) Colony of M. robertsii; (F) Colony of M. guizhouense; (G) Colony of M. anisopliae; (H) Colony of M. pingshaense; (I) Colony of M. viridulum; (J) Colony of M. pemphigi; (K) Colony of M. rileyi; (L) Colony of Mc. neogunnii; (M) The induction and isolation of Metarhizium; (N) Stroma of M. viridulum; (O) Spores of M. rileyi on the infected Lepidoptera larva; (P) Spores of M. pemphigi on the infected beetle larva; (Q) Fruit body of N. martiale. Bar of A-O and Q = 1 cm; Bar of P = 0.5 cm."

Table 1

Strain numbers and habitat conditions of Metarhizium species in Gaoligong Mountains. I, Dry-hot valley; II, Monsoon evergreen broad-leaved forest; III, Warm coniferous forest; IV, Mid-montane humid evergreen broad-leaved forest; V, Mountain moss dwarf forest; VI, Cold shrubs of meadow; VII, Rocky beach sparsely vegetation."

strain number
Vegetation type
Altitude span (m)
Temperature (℃)
Humidity (%)
Metarhizium brunneum 75 46.6 I-VI 600-3,400 13-34 32-80
M. pemphigi 25 15.5 I, II, IV 800-2,119 20-32 39-70
M. pingshaense 11 6.8 I, IV, V 1,925-3,135 15-34 58-74
M. guizhouense 13 8.1 II, IV 1,540-2,280 18-30 57-74
M. rileyi 10 6.2 II, IV 1,780-2,495 17-27 49-54
M. robertsii 5 3.1 I, IV 723-1,981 22-32 52-63
M. indigoticum 4 2.5 II, III 1,512-1,981 22-30 58-59
M. anisopliae 4 2.5 II, III 1,370-1,900 25-30 60-76
Metacordyceps neogunnii 7 4.4 II 1,438 25 65
M. campsosterni 5 3.1 IV 2,022 22 58
M. viridulum 1 0.6 II 1,540 30 57
M. lepidiotae 1 0.6 III 1,765 25 58
Nigelia martiale - - II 1,568 30 60
合计 Total 161 100 6 600-3,400 13-34 32-80

Fig. 2

Phylogenetic tree of Metarhizium based on nucleotide sequences of five loci (nrSSU, nrLSU, EF-1α, RPB1and RPB2) dataset. Those from Gaoligong Mountains are marked in bold."

Fig. 3

Morphology of the new record species in China, Metarhizium indigoticum (strain BUM 1512.8). (A) Obverse of the colony on PPDA; (B) Reverse of the colony on PPDA; (C) Conidia chains; (D, E) Conidiogenous structures. Bar of C-E = 5 µm."

Fig. 4

Species and strain numbers of Metarhizium in different vegetation types of Gaoligong Mountains. L, Low elevation; M, Middle elevation; H, High elevation."

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