Mycoflora on dead animal substrates of mangrove habitats of Karnataka coast, India
K ANANDA and K K SRIDHAR
Calcareous molluscan shells, cuttlefish endo-skeletons (cuttle bones), crab exoskeletons and bird feathers collected from three mangrove habitats of Karnataka in the west coast of India were screened for the occurrence of higher fungi. A total of five species of Ascomycetes and 16 species of Deuteromycetes were recorded. Among these fungi, six species were typical marine fungi. Corollospora intermedia was the most frequent species (62.5%) followed by Aspergillus sp 1 (34.8%), Epicoccum nigrum (33.5%) and Scolecobasidium sp. (30.3%). The frequency of occurrence of fungi on four animal substrates did not show a significant difference (p>0.05). However the frequency of occurrence in feathers (88%) was higher than in other substrates (71-74%). The highest similarity index was found between the molluscan shells and feathers (0.26). Unlike animal substrates collected from the beaches, animal substrates of mangrove habitats did not require lengthy period of incubation for the detection of colonized fungi. This might be due to continuous wet conditions that prevail in mangrove habitats. Besides the plant debris, calcareous, chitinous and keratinous animal materials also constitute potential substrates for, colonization and degradation by fungi in mangrove habitats.