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Remarkable cases of parallel evolution of the placodioid thallus growth form in the Lecanographaceae (Arthoniales) with the description of a new species of Alyxoria from Mexico

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2021

Damien Ertz*
Meise Botanic Garden, Department Research, Nieuwelaan 38, BE-1860Meise, Belgium Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, Service Général de l'Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche Scientifique, rue A. Lavallée 1, B-1080Bruxelles, Belgium
Alejandro Huereca
Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Departamento de Botánica, Laboratorio de Biología de Criptógamas, Av. Pedro de Alba y Manuel Barragán s/n, Cd. Universitaria, CP 66455, San Nicolás de los Garza, Nuevo León, México
Sergio Manuel Salcedo-Martínez
Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Departamento de Botánica, Laboratorio de Biología de Criptógamas, Av. Pedro de Alba y Manuel Barragán s/n, Cd. Universitaria, CP 66455, San Nicolás de los Garza, Nuevo León, México
Anders Tehler
Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany, P.O. Box 50007, S-104 05Stockholm, Sweden
Author for correspondence: Damien Ertz. E-mail:


The new species Alyxoria sierramadrensis is described from Mexico where it inhabits limestone rocks. The lichen developing from this fungus is characterized by a placodioid to subfoliose thallus with a white pruinose surface; rounded to shortly elongated ascomata with a black epruinose margin and a widely exposed, white pruinose hymenial disc; hyaline, 3-septate ascospores, 17–25 × 7–9 μm; the presence of anthraquinones rendering the medulla orange. Phylogenetic analyses of nuLSU, mtSSU and RPB2 sequences place this species in the genus Alyxoria (Lecanographaceae). This generic affiliation is surprising because all known Alyxoria species have a crustose thallus. Lecanographaceae mainly includes species without a thallus (lichenicolous taxa) or with a thin crustose thallus, the only exception being Simonyella variegata with a fruticose thallus. The new species belongs to the Alyxoria ochrocheila subgroup, which includes lichens also frequently known to have anthraquinones, white pruinose hymenial discs and 3-septate ascospores. Phylogenetic analyses further determined the systematic position of the monotypic genus Phoebus. This genus, considered as an Arthoniales of uncertain family affiliation, is shown to belong to the Lecanographaceae. With its placodioid thallus, it is another example of a lichenized fungus with a deviating morphology in thallus structure for the family, increasing the number of remarkable cases of parallel evolution of lichen growth forms within the Arthoniales. Phoebus hydrophobius is newly recorded for Mexico.

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Copyright © The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the British Lichen Society

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