Pyrenocarpous lichens with bitunicate asci

A first assessment of the lichen biodiversity inventory in Costa Rica

Ed.: André Aptroot; Robert Lücking; Harrie J.M. Sipman; Loengrin Umana; José Luis Chaves

2008. 162 pages, 32 figures, 3 tables, 14x23cm, 330 g
Language: English

(Bibliotheca Lichenologica, Band 97)

ISBN 978-3-443-58076-6, paperback, price: 68.00 €

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pyrenocarpous lichen bitunicate asci Costa Rica


Synopsis top ↑

This publication provides an extensive treatment of the pyrenocarpous lichens with bitunicate asci (excluding Porinaceae, Myeloconidaceae and chiefly saxicolous genera) in Costa Rica, with keys, descriptions, and taxonomic discussion. A total of 181 species is treated, the majority of which are reported from the country for the first time, and several taxa are new to the Neotropics. Names reported or listed by earlier authors, in particular those by Müller Argoviensis and Dodge in the late 19th and early 20th century, were critically revised, and many turned out to belong to other taxa.

Review: International Lichenological Newsletter vol. 41 no. 1 July 2008 top ↑

The knowledge of pyrenocarpous lichens especially from tropical and subtropical areas is still rather limitted and every serious attempt to improve this situation is highly appreciated. The authors worked in the framework of TICOLICHEN during 2002–2004 on the lichens flora of Costa Rica and present here their results for a first group of pyrenocarpous lichens. They incorporated all information available which date back to Müller Argoviensis in the second half of the 19th centuary and to Dodge in the first half of the 20th centuary. As result 181 species are accepted when Porinaceae, Myeloconidaceae and chiefly saxicolous genera are still excluded. Those excluded groups will be treated in future papers.

As taxonomic novelties in the present volume 15 new species are described and 13 new combinations are proposed in addition to numerous synonymizations. To accomodate all treated species in accordance with the results of recent molecular studies the new family Celotheliaceae Lücking, Aptroot & Sipman and the new order Trypetheliales Lücking, Aptroot & Sipman are introduced.

In the main part all treated species keyed out by using spore characteristics for six major artificial groups. Within these groups all species keyed out and therefor no separate keys for the species of particular genera are given. All new species are described in detail whereas for all other species only diagnostically important characteristics are given. Well over 100 species are also illustrated by photographs in the 32 figures because 28 of them consist of 6 photographs each, illustrating spores, habit or special details. Finally a multivariate ecological analysis is presented revealing that many taxa have special ecological requirements and distinct habitat preferences.

With this new contribution the number of known pyrenocarpous lichens of Costa Rica grows to about 355 and by this is the highest number of pyrenocarps known from any single country. This result and the number of species known only from a single locality still shows the insufficient knowledge of these organisms. The present volume is an important step to improve this situation, not necessary to explain that nobody will be able to work on these lichens in subtropical or tropical areas without consulting this paper.

The Editor

International Lichenological Newsletter vol. 41 no. 1 July 2008 p. 8

Review: Acta Botanica Hungarica 52(1-2), 2010 top ↑

The volume reports on the results of the TICOLICHEN project carried out in Costa Rica. Its main aim is to study the biodiversity of lichenised fungi. The group of pyrenocarpous lichens with bitunicate asci is treated in this volume: Monoblastiaceae, Pyrenulaceae, Strigulaceae, Thelenellaceae, Trypetheliaceae, a part of Verrucariaceae. A similar treatment of the unitunicate families Porinaceae and Myeloconidaceae is under preparation. Genera containing mainly saxicolous species – first of all Verrucariaceae – are also excluded from the current treatment and will be published later. The current classification of pyrenocarpous lichens (known from Costa Rica) is compiled on the basis of current molecular genetic results and it is summarised in a table. Among taxonomic and nomeclatural novelties there are the order Trypetheliales, the family Celotheliaceae, 15 new species and 13 new combinations. Considering that the representatives of these lichen groups with peritheciate fruit-bodies and smooth (sometimes squamulose or filamentous) thallus look very similar, the identification of the species is very difficult. The knowledge of ascospore characters is indispensable. The key containing characters easy to observe by light microscope (or applying other routine methods, e.g. UV light, spot reactions) is extremely useful for identification. 181 species in total are treated. There is an index to all names mentioned.

Most of the 32 figures mean even more illustrations, since the bulk of these are consisted of 6 figures forming a plate. Habit and ascospore micrographs are presented for a large number of species. The 31 literature sources cited in references show that these groups were not studied well prior to the current study, so the authors had a difficult task.

A multivariate ecological analysis for separating the 34 sites included in the study was carried out. A close relationship between vegetation types (from lowland to montane rainforests or dry to moist sites) and species composition was established for the 1,735 collections of 153 taxa. Some ecomorphological adaptations (cf. colour, thickness of thallus, aggregation of apothecia and water-conditions of the site) were also suggested but need confirmation later.


Acta Botanica Hungarica 52(1-2), 2010

Review: Bibliography of Systematic Mycology, 12(6), October 2008 top ↑

The scope of this monograph is to key out, list, describe, and illustrate over 180 corticolous lichens with flask-shaped and carbonised fruit bodies and ‘bitunicate’ asci, belonging to the families Monoblastiaceae, Pyrenulaceae, Strigulaceae, Thelenellaceae, Trypetheliaceae and selected Verrucariaceae that can be found in Costa Rica. The work is part of a bigger project: TICOLICHEN, which, over the years, has intended to inventory the lichen biodiversity of that country.

The authors modestly suggest their current findings show that knowledge of the groups is still incomplete, yet they describe two new higher taxa: Celotheliaceae and Trypetheliales (see new classification for the group in Table 1), fifteen new species within nine genera, and include thirteen new combinations. In the introduction, they claim to have examined type material to support those conclusions and the synonymy of some other nineteen species; nevertheless, this is not indicated in the citation and account of the genera and species listed later, so I sense a bit of a ‘rush’ in putting the manuscript together.

The descriptions of the taxa are short, without diagnostic characters or notes about how to separate closely related species, so that, despite the many good black and white illustrations, it is going to be difficult for beginners in the group to get to grips with identification of collections, unless they study first the monographs or more detailed accounts of the genera included. However, there is a bit more substance in the description of new species, and the ‘monographs’ needed are referred to within the text and listed in the Literature section at the end.

The authors also indicate in the introduction how these groups tend to be neglected by researchers because it is difficult to separate the species in the field. Although this is quite true, microscopically the species are very attractive. Maybe as advocates of the group they could have used more photographs, and some could have been in colour. Alternatively, a reference to more published illustrations, or those now available on the web (e.g., which includes many contributions from the senior author of this work) could have gone some way toward removing the misconception. Also, I think that the presentation of the information could have been in a less traditional format, using more tables or diagrams, or by grouping the species according to the habitats or vegetation types (as defined by the Multivariate ecological analysis section presented in the last six pages). This could have made the work more appealing to non-specialists in the group, without losing its reference status and scope.

In conclusion, and despite some of the above shortcomings, the work is going to be valuable across the tropics, and let’s hope that more people start to appreciate the beauty of these lichens.

B. Aguirre-Hudson

Bibliography of Systematic Mycology, 12(6), October 2008

Review: MYCOTAXON vol. 110, 2009 top ↑

Crustose lichens occurring on bark in the tropics, other than graphids and thelotremes, are one of the outstanding major challenges for lichenologists today. Huge numbers of taxa have been described, especially in the midnineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and often in large genera with many hundreds of names that have not been critically assessed according to current generic, let alone species, concepts. This brave attempt to tackle this problem for Costa Rica accepts 181 species distributed through 32 genera. One new family (Celotheliaceae) and 15 new species are described, and 13 new combinations made. Particularly valuable have been revisions of type material that have led to the synonymization of 20 names, mostly coined by Müller Argoviensis or Dodge, with previously described species. Keys are provided to genera and species, arranged with a set of six sub-keys pragmatically based on ascospore colour and septation. The species entries are presented in a single alphabetical sequence, without places of publication of the names themselves, but with brief descriptions, information on their distribution, a list of specimens examined, and in some cases notes or half-tone habit photographs or photomicrographs of the spores. The inventory is surely far from complete, but it is based on an impressive 1735 collections made from 34 sites, mainly in 2002-2004, as well as historic collections. Unusual for a primarily systematic study is a multivariate analysis of the sites, which distinguished six categories from lowland deciduous dry forest to the upper montane rain forest. This analysis also highlighted some indicator species of the different forest types. While not all lichenologists might concur with some parts of the classification and generic concepts adopted, there can be no doubt that this work will serve as the starting point for the identification of pyrenocarpous lichens in the neotropics.

MYCOTAXON 110, 2009

Contents top ↑

Summary 4
Introduction 6
Study area 11
Material and methods 11
Description of two new higher taxa 12
Celotheliaceae 12
Trypetheliales 13
Key to genera and species 13
The genera and species 28
Agonimia 28
Anisomeridium 31
Anthracothecium 34
Aptrootia 35
Architrypethelium 37
Arthopyrenia 39
Aspidothelium 41
Astrothelium 44
Bathelium 50
Campylothelium 52
Celothelium 54
Clypeopyrenis 56
Cryptothelium 57
Endocarpon 58
Julella 60
Laurera 60
Lithothelium 64
Mazaediothecium 66
Megalotremis 67
Monoblastia 72
Musaespora 73
Mycomicrothelia 75
Mycoporum 79
Normandina 81
Polymeridium 83
Pseudopyrenula 85
Psoroglaena 88
Pyrenula 89
Pyrgillus 129
Strigula 130
Trypethelium 133
Tylophoron 142
Multivariate ecological analysis 145
Acknowledgements 151
Literature 151
Index to scientific names 154