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Culturable mycota on bats in central and southern Yunnan Province, China

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Bats represent the second largest mammal group, with over 1400 known species dispersed across six continents. Bats are unique in many ways. Notably, their incredible longevity, with a life span of up to ten times longer than what might be expected from their body size and a unique ability to tolerate viruses without displaying any symptoms, means they provide an area of particular importance from a disease risk perspective. In addition, the warm, humid environments in which bats occur provide ideal habitats for fungi to grow, and the bats potentially carry various pathogens that can threaten plants, animals, and humans. Whilst the role of bats as reservoir of viruses is well known, their role as a host to various fungi has been largely neglected. To explore this gap, we investigated the culturable mycota isolated from bats in the diverse Yunnan Province, China. In total, 164 samples from 104 bats were collected, and 164 fungal strains, representing 25 species, were isolated using the dilution plate method. The majority of these species were discovered for the first time from bats, and 14 new species and 11 new records are described in this paper. Some species were previously known from other environments, as pathogens of plants, animals, or humans. Based on morphology and multigene phylogeny, we conclude that bats host a high fungal diversity, including a number of previously unknown species. Novel species described in this paper include Amphichorda yunnanensis, Apiospora xishuangbannaensis, Clonostachys rhinolophicola, Fusarium hipposidericola, F. menglaense, F. rhinolophicola, F. yunnanense, F. xishuangbannaense, Neopestalotiopsis xishuangbannaensis, Phialemoniopsis hipposidericola, Ph. xishuangbannaensis, Trichoderma hipposidericola, T. rhinolophicola and T. xishuangbannaense.

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