Wild boars ( Sus scrofa L.) are well-known for soil disturbance in natural and cultivated truffieres but their role in spore dispersal is poorly investigated. In the present work we studied the occurrence of hypogeous fungal spores in faecal contents of 14 wild boars randomly hunted in “Parco dei Gessi e Calanchi dell’Abbadessa” Regional Park (North of Italy) where truffle production has been previously investigated for three years. Six methods for spore analysis in faeces were compared and the suspension of faeces in ZnSO 4 (70%) solution resulted to be the most reliable. Hypogeous fungal spores, including Tuber magnatum and Tuber aestivum spores, were detected in 9 animals. This result suggests that the detection of fungal spores in faeces of wild boars may provide information on the presence of hypogeous fungi in an area. However, the poor abundance of spores suggests that the wild boar can be considered an opportunistic mycophagist, ingesting truffles only occasionally, as a seasonal source of food. Considering the magnitude of wild boar movements during seasonal migrations, it is possible to speculate that they play a key role in truffle long distance dispersal.
F. Piattoni, Francesca Oir, M. Morara
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