The type of Ophiocordyceps unilateralis (Ophiocordycipitaceae, Hypocreales, Ascomycota) is based on an immature specimen collected on an ant in Brazil. The host was identified initially as a leaf-cutting ant (Atta cephalotes, Attini, Myrmicinae). However, a critical examination of the original illustration reveals that the host is the golden carpenter ant, Camponotus sericeiventris (Camponotini, Formicinae). Because the holotype is no longer extant and the original diagnosis lacks critical taxonomic information - specifically, on ascus and ascospore morphology - a new type from Minas Gerais State of south-east Brazil is designated herein. A re-description of the fungus is provided and a new phylogenetic tree of the O. unilateralis clade is presented. It is predicted that many more species of zombieant fungi remain to be delimited within the O. unilateralis complex worldwide, on ants of the tribe Camponotini.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)