Psychrotolerant Microfungi Associated with Deer Mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) in a White-nose Syndrome Positive Bat Hibernaculum in Eastern Canada
Keywords:Pseudogymnoascus destructans, Deer Mouse, Peromyscus maniculatus, cave fungi, cave mycota, cold-tolerant fungi, fungal dispersal, white-nose syndrome
With the exception of recent work on bats, no reports on the fungi present on live mammals in underground habitats have been published. We cultured psychrotolerant fungi from the external surface and faeces of live Deer Mice (Peromyscus maniculatus), and from the intestinal contents of a single freshly killed P. maniculatus, overwintering in a white-nose syndrome positive bat hibernaculum and from adjacent summer forest in eastern Canada. A low diversity of psychrotolerant fungi was cultured from P. maniculatus compared with that found in previous studies of the mycoflora of bats and arthropods occupying bat hibernacula in the region. Although the grooming habits of P. maniculatus may reduce the accumulation of a diverse psychrotolerant fungal assemblage on their external surface, we demonstrate that active euthermic mammals in underground habitats can carry viable spores of psychrotolerant fungi, both externally and internally. Small rodents using cave habitats may also play a role in dispersing psychrotolerant fungi between caves and suitable low-temperature habitats (i.e., burrows) in adjacent forest.
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