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Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz
Print version ISSN 0074-0276
JESUS, Mariana Santos de et al. Cryptococcus neoformans carried by Odontomachus bauri ants. Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz [online]. 2012, vol.107, n.4, pp. 466-469. ISSN 0074-0276. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0074-02762012000400004.
Cryptococcus neoformans is the most common causative agent of cryptococcosis worldwide. Although this fungus has been isolated from a variety of organic substrates, several studies suggest that hollow trees constitute an important natural niche for C. neoformans. A previously surveyed hollow of a living pink shower tree (Cassia grandis) positive for C. neoformans in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was chosen for further investigation. Odontomachus bauri ants (trap-jaw ants) found inside the hollow were collected for evaluation as possible carriers of Cryptococcus spp. Two out of 10 ants were found to carry phenoloxidase-positive colonies identified as C. neoformans molecular types VNI and VNII. The ants may have acted as a mechanical vector of C. neoformans and possibly contributed to the dispersal of the fungi from one substrate to another. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on the association of C. neoformans with ants of the genus Odontomachus.
Keywords : Cryptococcus neoformans; Odontomachus bauri; insect association; hollow tree habitat.