Native and non-native mammals disperse exotic ectomycorrhizal fungi at long distances from pine plantations.
We aimed to evaluate if exotic ectomycorrhizal fungi from exotic pine plantations disperse through non-native, but also native, mammals in a mountain ecosystem devoid of native ECM plants. Among four non-native and three native mammal species, feces of non-native wild boar (Sus scrofa) and brown hare (Lepus europaeus), and native pampa fox (Lycalopex gymnocercus) were selected to inoculate seedlings of Pinus elliottii. These feces came from two transects in an elevation gradient (1350-2250 m asl) and different distances from a pine plantation (100-6000 m). We show that feces of wild boar, brown hare (non-native), and pampa fox (native) were effective as inoculum for establishing ectomycorrhizal pine seedlings. Through molecular analyses, we determined that two species are mostly consumed and successfully form ectomycorrhizas with pine roots: Suillus granulatus and Rhizopogon pseudoroseolus. We provide novel evidence for the long-distance dispersal of exotic ectomycorrhizal fungi by non-native and native animal vectors.