Differential Adaptation Has Resulted in Aggressiveness Variation of Calonectria pseudonaviculata on Hosts Buxus, Pachysandra, and Sarcococca
Calonectria pseudonaviculata (Cps) infects Buxus (boxwood), Pachysandra (pachysandra), and Sarcococca spp. (sweet box); yet, how it adapts to its hosts has been unclear. Here, we performed serial passage experiments with the three hosts and measured Cps changes in three aggressiveness components: infectibility, lesion size, and conidial production. The detached leaves of individual hosts were inoculated with isolates (P0) from the originating host, followed by nine serial inoculations of new leaves of the same host with conidia from the infected leaves of the previous inoculation. All boxwood isolates maintained their capability of infection and lesion expansion through the 10 passages, whereas most non-boxwood isolates lost these abilities during the passages. Isolates from plants of origin (-P0) and their descendants isolated from passages 5 (-P5) and 10 (*-P10) were used to evaluate aggressiveness changes on all three hosts with cross-inoculation. While post-passage boxwood isolates gave enlarged lesions on pachysandra, sweet box P5 and pachysandra P10 isolates showed reduced aggressiveness on all hosts. Cps appears to be most adapted to boxwood and less adapted to sweet box and pachysandra. These results suggest speciation of Cps, with its coevolutionary pace with the hosts the fastest with boxwood, intermediate with sweet box, and the slowest with pachysandra.