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Unveiling a surprising diversity in the lichen genus Micarea (Pilocarpaceae) in Réunion (Mascarenes archipelago, Indian Ocean)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 May 2014

A. Maarten BRAND
Klipperwerf 5, 2317 DX, Leiden, The Netherlands
Arafura 16, NL-5691 JA, Son, The Netherlands
Evolution and Conservation Biology Unit, University of Liège, Sart Tilman B22, B-4000 Liège, Belgium. Email:


Detailed anatomical and chemical studies conducted on recent collections made in almost all suitable habitats on Réunion, a small remote tropical island in the Indian Ocean, yielded a surprising diversity in the widespread lichen genus Micarea (Pilocarpaceae, Lecanorales). Twenty-one species are recognized, including 13 described here as new to science. They are: Micarea alectorialica, M. bebourensis, M. borbonica, M. boryana, M. cilaoensis, M. hyalinoxanthonica, M. isidiosa, M. melanoprasina, M. pseudocoppinsii, M. pseudolignaria, M. sublithinella, M. takamakae and M. tenuispora. Notes on local ecology and important biogeographical features are also given and a key to the species is provided. Isidiiform areolae are reported for the first time in the genus (M. isidiosa and M. tenuispora), as well as the production of protolichesterinic and confluentic acids (M. sublithinella and M. takamakae, respectively). Two groups within the genus are species-rich on the island: the M. peliocarpa group with possibly 5 species, including 3 new to science, and the M. prasina group with 4 species, including 2 new to science. Micarea levicula is reported here for the first time since its description, and the status of the material that can be referred to M. micrococca s. lat. needs further study.

Copyright © British Lichen Society 2014 

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