The distribution of nematophagous fungi in the maritime Antarctic
Endoparasitic and predatory nematophagous fungi are widely distributed throughout the maritime Antarctic, being recorded along the Antarctic Peninsula as far south as 68° S. Fungi were recorded from 71% of the sites examined with Cephalosporium balanoides and Dactylaria gracilis being the commonest recorded endoparasite and predator, respectively. Endoparasites with adhesive and nematode-attracting conidia were shown to be more abundant and to have a competitive advantage in the Antarctic ecosystem over those parasites requiring their conidia to be ingested before infection could occur. Predators able to form traps spontaneously on germination were shown to be far more abundant than those species with a more saprophytic mode of existence, with constricting rings being the most commonly isolated trapping mechanism. Species capturing nematodes by three-dimensional networks were restricted to bird-associated sites indicating that they are able to grow saprophytically in such organically enriched material. Nematophagous basidiomycetes and phycomycetes were absent except for a single Myzocytium sp. isolated from heated soil.