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Hesperomyces virescens on Harmonia axyridis
Scientific classification

Engler (1898)



The Laboulbeniales is an order of Fungi within the class Laboulbeniomycetes. They are also known by the colloquial name, beetle hangers, [1] or labouls. The order includes around 2,325 species [2] of obligate insect ectoparasites that produce cellular thalli from two-celled ascospores. Recently, the genus Herpomyces , traditionally considered a basal member of Laboulbeniales, was transferred to the order Herpomycetales based on molecular phylogenetic data. [3] [4] Laboulbeniales typically do not kill their hosts, although they may impair host fitness if the parasite density is high.

Laboulbeniales form individual thalli, and lack vegetative hyphae. A thallus is attached to its host by a dark-colored foot cell, through which the fungus penetrates the exoskeleton of its host to draw nutrition from the hemolymph. The external part of the thallus may form male structures (antheridia) or female structures (trichogynes and perithecia), or both. New infections are initiated when spores from the perithecia attach to a compatible insect host. Spore transmission can sometimes occur during insect copulation, which may account for the different site specificity sometimes observed in male and female hosts. These fungi do not grow apart from their hosts.

Foundational work on the Laboulbeniales was completed by the American mycologist Roland Thaxter (1858–1932), particularly in his five-volume, illustrated Monograph of the Laboulbeniaceae (Thaxter 1896, 1908, 1924, 1926, 1931).

Recent molecular phylogenetic work has shown that some taxa are complexes of multiple species segregated by host, for example Hesperomyces virescens. [5] The classification of the order Laboulbeniales follows Isabelle Tavares (1985) but several taxa in that system are polyphyletic. [6] [7]

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Ascomycota Division or phylum of fungi

Ascomycota is a phylum of the kingdom Fungi that, together with the Basidiomycota, forms the subkingdom Dikarya. Its members are commonly known as the sac fungi or ascomycetes. It is the largest phylum of Fungi, with over 64,000 species. The defining feature of this fungal group is the "ascus", a microscopic sexual structure in which nonmotile spores, called ascospores, are formed. However, some species of the Ascomycota are asexual, meaning that they do not have a sexual cycle and thus do not form asci or ascospores. Familiar examples of sac fungi include morels, truffles, brewer's yeast and baker's yeast, dead man's fingers, and cup fungi. The fungal symbionts in the majority of lichens such as Cladonia belong to the Ascomycota.

Parmeliaceae family of fungi

The Parmeliaceae is a large and diverse family of Lecanoromycetes. With over 2700 species in 71 genera, it is the largest family of lichen-forming fungi. The most speciose genera in the family are the well-known groups: Xanthoparmelia, Usnea, Parmotrema, and Hypotrachyna.

Streblidae family of insects

The Streblidae are a family of flies in the superfamily Hippoboscoidea, and together with their relatives the Nycteribiidae, are known as bat flies. They are winged or wingless ectoparasites of bats, and often have long legs. They appear to be host-specific, with different species of bat flies occurring only on particular species of bat hosts, sometimes with multiple species of flies sharing a host bat.

Laboulbeniomycetes class of fungi

The Laboulbeniomycetes are a unique group of fungi that are obligatorily associated with arthropods, either as external parasites or for dispersal (Pyxidiophorales).

Rhizophydiales order of fungi

Rhizophydiales are an important group of chytrid fungi. They are found in soil as well as marine and fresh water habitats where they function as parasites and decomposers.

<i>Lichenomphalia</i> genus of fungi

Lichenomphalia is both a basidiolichen and an agaric genus. Most of the species have inconspicuous lichenized thalli that consist of scattered, small, loose, nearly microscopic green balls or foliose small flakes containing single-celled green algae in the genus Coccomyxa, all interconnected by a loose network of hyphae. The agaric fruit bodies themselves are nonlichenized and resemble other types of omphalinoid mushrooms. These agarics lack clamp connections and do not form hymenial cystidia. The basidiospores are hyaline, smooth, thin-walled, and nonamyloid. Most of the species were originally classified in the genera Omphalina or Gerronema. Historically the species were classified with those other genera in the family, the Tricholomataceae together with the nonlichenized species. Lichenomphalia species can be grouped into brightly colored taxa, with vivid yellow and orange colors, versus the grey brown group, depending upon the microscopic pigmentation deposits. Molecular research comparing DNA sequences now place Lichenomphalia close to the redefined genus Arrhenia, which together with several other genera not traditionally considered to be related, fall within the newly redefined Hygrophoraceae.

Arthoniales order of fungi

The Arthoniales is the second largest orders of mainly crustose lichens, but fruticose lichens are present as well. The order contains around 1500 species, while the largest order with lichenized fungi, the Lecanorales, contains more than 14000 species.

Cantharomyces is a genus of about 30 species of fungi in the family Laboulbeniaceae.

Hydrophilomyces is a genus of fungi in the family Laboulbeniaceae. It was circumscribed by American mycologist Roland Thaxter in 1908. The genus contain 12 species.

<i>Hesperomyces</i> genus of fungi

Hesperomyces is a genus of fungi in the family Laboulbeniaceae. The genus contain five species, including the type-species Hesperomyces virescens. H. virescens is a parasite of the harlequin ladybird, Harmonia axyridis.

<i>Psilolechia</i> genus of fungi

Psilolechia is a genus of four species of crustose lichens. It is the only member of Psilolechiaceae, a family that was created in 2014 to contain this genus.

Roland Thaxter American mycologist (1858-1932)

Roland Thaxter was an American mycologist, plant pathologist, botanist, and entomologist, renowned for his contribution to the insect parasitic fungi—Laboulbeniales. His college education was completed at Harvard, where he dedicated forty years to mycological and botanical research. His five-volume series on fungi in the order Laboulbeniales laid a solid foundation of research on these insect ectoparasites. He also contributed to the field of Plant Pathology.

<i>Pilophorus acicularis</i> species of fungus

Pilophorus acicularis, commonly known as the nail lichen or the devil's matchstick, is a species of lichen in the family Cladoniaceae.

<i>Rickia wasmannii</i> species of fungus

Rickia wasmannii is a species of the widely distributed entomoparasitic order of fungi Laboulbeniales. It is an obligatory parasite of ants of the genus Myrmica. The thalli penetrate outer layer of the cuticle, and appear on the host body surface. Little is known about its effect on the host ant, but it is usually regarded as a rather neutral symbiont. Contrarily, however, a recent study has documented an increased need of drinking water and a shortened life-span of infected ants.

Lepidostromatales order of fungi

Lepidostromatales is an order of fungi in the class Agaricomycetes. It is the only known order of basidiomycete fungi composed entirely of lichenized members. Morphologically, the fruiting bodies of all species are clavarioid. Six species are known, five of which were described within the span of 2007–2013. Due to its morphological similarity to the genus Multiclavula, its isolated phylogenetic position was not understood until quite recently. The photobionts that have been found in association with members of this group are not known to associate with any other types of lichenized fungi.

Cryptandromyces elegans is a species of fungi in the family Laboulbeniaceae. It is found in the Netherlands.

Corethromyces elegans is a species of fungi in the family Laboulbeniaceae. A specimen at the University of Illinois Herbarium was found on Rhexius inculptus Lec. in La Salle County, Illinois, United States.

<i>Herpomyces</i> genus of fungi

Herpomyces is a fungal genus in the order Herpomycetales (Laboulbeniomycetes), with species that are exclusively ectoparasites of members of the Blattodea order (cockroaches). As of 2020, 27 species of Herpomyces are formally described. Members of Herpomyces have been reported from all continents except Antarctica.

Paramoebidium is a genus of unicellular, symbiotic eukaryotes that inhabit the digestive tract of immature freshwater arthropod hosts. Paramoebidium is classified in the opisthokont class Mesomycetozoea, and is the sole genus in the family Paramoebidiidae. Prior to 2005, Paramoebidium species were tentatively placed with the fungal group trichomycetes due to their habitation of arthropod guts, host overlap between various Paramoebidium and fungal trichomycete taxa, and similar vegetative growth form.

Herpomycetales order of fungi

The Herpomycetales is an order of Fungi within the class Laboulbeniomycetes. The order includes a single dioecious genus, Herpomyces, with 27 accepted species of obligate ectoparasites that are associated exclusively with cockroaches. Like the Laboulbeniales order, they produce cellular thalli. However, the thalli of Herpomyces are developmentally and morphologically unique.


  1. Cooke MC (1892). Vegetable wasps and plant worms : a popular history of entomogenous fungi, or fungi parasitic upon insects /. Metcalf Collection (North Carolina State University). London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. doi:10.5962/bhl.title.34922.
  2. Kirk, Paul (2019). "Catalogue of Life".
  3. Haelewaters, Danny; Pfliegler, Walter P.; Gorczak, Michał; Pfister, Donald H. (2019). "Birth of an order: Comprehensive molecular phylogenetic study excludes Herpomyces (Fungi, Laboulbeniomycetes) from Laboulbeniales". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 133: 286–301. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2019.01.007. hdl: 2437/262843 .
  4. Blackwell, Meredith; Haelewaters, Danny; Pfister, Donald H. (2020). "Laboulbeniomycetes: Evolution, natural history, and Thaxter's final word". Mycologia: 1–12. doi:10.1080/00275514.2020.1718442. ISSN   0027-5514.
  5. Haelewaters D, De Kesel A, Pfister DH (2018). "Integrative taxonomy reveals hidden species within a common fungal parasite of ladybirds". Scientific Reports. 8 (1): 15966. Bibcode:2018NatSR...815966H. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-34319-5. PMC   6206035 . PMID   30374135.
  6. Goldmann L, Weir A (2018). "Molecular phylogeny of the Laboulbeniomycetes (Ascomycota)". Fungal Biology. 122 (2–3): 87–100. doi:10.1016/j.funbio.2017.11.004. PMID   29458722.
  7. Haelewaters D, Page RA, Pfister DH (2018). "Laboulbeniales hyperparasites (Fungi, Ascomycota) of bat flies: Independent origins and host associations". Ecology and Evolution. 8 (16): 8396–8418. doi:10.1002/ece3.4359. PMC   6145224 . PMID   30250711.

Further reading