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When: 2015-09-26

Collection location: Lourinhã, Portugal [Click for map]

Who: zaca

No specimen available

Lichenicolous fungus:
While analyzing some material from past filed trip I saw this example of a lichenicolous fungus growing on a Pertusaria sp. (P. heterochroa I think). It as a somewhat strange grow form, since it appears to be at anamorphic state: the brown/black ascoma are immersed in the apothecia of the host and the fruits, which I’m interpreting as conidia, are brown and 1-septate with average dimensions of Me = 6.2 × 2.9 µm ; Qe = 2.2 (N=20) and aredeveloping at the top of some septate hyphae (conidiophores?) having a radial distribution. I have no idea how to classify it.


Microscopy: The lichenicolous fungus are the brown mass, having as background the hymenium of the host;
Microscopy: Conidia and conidiophores (x1000) -1
Microscopy: Conidia and conidiophores (x 1000) – 2.
Microscopy: Tentative sections of ascomata.

Proposed Names

29% (1)
Based on microscopic features
58% (1)
Recognized by sight: Suggested by Javier Etayo in the topic created at AscoFrance:

Please login to propose your own names and vote on existing names.

= Observer’s choice
= Current consensus


Add Comment
These are friendly words, Jason; Thank you!
By: zaca
2016-04-19 15:08:54 CDT (-0500)
I definitely had the same problems at first
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2016-04-18 19:21:52 CDT (-0500)

I thought it was going to be utterly impossible, but believe it or not, you will get better at sectioning these minute things, even with the equipment you have. You have proven you are more than up to the task many times over. I have great faith that this will be no more challenging than any other of the many difficult fields you’ve mastered — on your own! — in record time.

(Fresh sharp razor blades definitely do help, though! :)

Thanks, Jason,
By: zaca
2016-04-18 18:39:01 CDT (-0500)

but it would be good, if I could give a better view of the micro features; I’ve tried but with litle success. Next time will be better, I hope.
This is a new world for me and much more difficult, because the specimens to analyzed have much smaller dimension. Definitely I need some new material, though I don’t know exactly what. Maybe I’ll try a digital scope to help in making sections.

Good work!
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2016-04-18 16:21:42 CDT (-0500)

Sorry, didn’t mean the comment about not seeing a section to be a criticism. Just wanted to make sure you were considering Lichenodiplis, too.

And obviously you did(!)

re: Lichenodiplis and Muellerella — In Turnbull NWR in eastern Washington, USA, we collected dozens of specimens of L. lecanorae. And two of our four specimens of M. hospitans occurred with L. lecanorae. In hindsight, I am not at all surprised that there is a deeper connection between the two.

Some references:
By: zaca
2016-04-18 15:13:26 CDT (-0500)

Ref. 1:
Paul Diederich: New species and new records of American lichenicolous fungi 41, Herzogia 16 (2003): 41–90.

Ref. 2:
Violeta ATIENZA, Sergio PÉREZ-ORTEGA and Javier ETAYO: Two new conidial lichenicolous fungi from Spain indicate the distinction of Lichenodiplis and Minutoexcipula, The Lichenologist 41(3): 223–229 (2009).

Lucia Muggia, Theodora Kopun, Damien Ertz: Phylogenetic placement of the lichenicolous, anamorphic genus Lichenodiplis and its connection to Muellerella-like teleomorphs, Fungal Biology, Volume 119, Issue 11, November 2015, Pages 1115–1128.

Jason is clearly right about the lack of a section of the ascomata. The reason is simple, I was unable to do it in a clear way.
This is related with the lack of proper conditions to deal with so small material. Anyhow I upload what I have and add that in every micro observation I made I saw a sporodochia-like ascoma (conidia on outside, as Jason referred). But this question, the classification of the type of ascoma, is not simple (see below).
Before this observation I never heard about the genera Lichenodiplis and Minutoexcipula. Only after the proposal of J. Etayo at Ascofrance I read something about them. The most important information is given in Ref. 2 (by P. Diederich), who base the distinction of the two genera in two properties: 1) conidiophores are absent or reduced in Lichenodiplis_Lichenodiplis_, whereas Minutoexcipula has elongate, septate, 2-3-branched conidiophores; 2) conidiomata of Lichenodiplis are pycnidial, being sporodochial in Minutoexcipula, from the beginning, with a thin exciple and a distinctly to strongly convex fertile layer. However, he also mentioned some recent (at the time) species of Minutoexcipula with a pycnidial appearance. Moreover, according to Ref.1, the names Lichenodiplis and Minutoexcipula should be maintained because of the differences in the complexity of the conidiogenous cells, presence of conidiophores and in the structure of the exciple. However, a more recent publication, Ref. 3, where an anamorph-telemorph relationship between Lichenodiplis and Muellerella are mentioned, predicts: “Future molecular studies might show that Minutoexcipula also belong to the ‘Lichenodiplis-Muellerella clade’.” So, maybe there will be changes in the near future.
Regarding this observation, taking into account my initial comment and the elongated and septate conidiophores, I believe that the right genus is Minutoexcipula.
Now concerning the species: As mentioned in my previous comment, Ref. 1 describes a new species of Minutoexcipula, M. tephromelae, where as the name suggests was so named because the know hosts belong to the saxiculous lichen genus Tephromela. The values for the conidia dimensions are close to that of my specimen. On the other hand, the type species of the genus – M. tuckerae – also has similar conidia dimensions and is known to be growing on Pertusaria spp.. We have the following conidia dimensions:
My specimen: (4.6) 5.2 – 6.9 (7.7) × (2.2) 2.6 – 3.3 (3.4) µm
M. tuckerae: 6.5–8 × 3–4 µm (according to Ref. 2).
M. tephromelae 5–5·5(–6) × (2·5–)3(–4) µm (according to Ref. 1).
So, based mainly on the host, I will go for M. tuckerae.

Yes very easy to confuse!
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2016-04-18 10:52:21 CDT (-0500)

More easy than it shoud be. You would think that sporodochia (conidia on outside) and pycnidia (conidia on the inside) would be completely different(!!)

But as usual, you are way ahead of me. I’m just trying to help us readers keep up with you, haha. :)

In fact,
By: zaca
2016-04-18 10:45:34 CDT (-0500)

the complete sentence of J. Eatyo at Ascofrance was:
“You should look at Minutoexcipula, more remotely Lichenodiplis”.
This means that the two genus are similar and can be confused. But, the author of the sentence is one of the authors of a recently published paper, that he kindly sent me, devoted to the comparison of two species, one in the genus Lichenodiplis and other in the genus Minutoexcipula, both being named at that paper (sp. nov.).
I’m in a lack of time now, but I will develop my comment later on.
Thanks, Jason, for your comment.

According to the key in the Sonoran Flora (vol. 2)
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2016-04-18 10:19:43 CDT (-0500)

Lichenodiplis is also a possibility. It depends on whether you characterize the conidiomata as “pycnidia” or “compact sporodochia”. I don’t see a clean cross-section of one in your photos, so I’ll just have to trust Etayo!