Published online by Cambridge University Press: 20 February 2019
In this study we clarify the phylogeny and reassess the current taxonomy of the Micarea prasina group, focusing especially on the M. byssacea and M. micrococca complexes. The phylogeny was investigated using ITS, mtSSU and Mcm7 regions from 25 taxa belonging to the M. prasina group. A total of 107 new sequences were generated. Data were analyzed using maximum parsimony and maximum likelihood methods. The results reveal five undescribed well-supported lineages. Four of the lineages represent new species described as Micarea pseudomicrococca Launis & Myllys sp. nov., M. czarnotae Launis, van den Boom, Sérusiaux & Myllys sp. nov., M. microareolata Launis, Pykälä & Myllys sp. nov. and M. laeta Launis & Myllys sp. nov. In addition, a fifth lineage was revealed that requires further study. Micarea pseudomicrococca is characterized by an olive green granular thallus, small cream-white or brownish apothecia lacking the Sedifolia-grey pigment and two types of paraphyses up to 2 µm wide. Micarea czarnotae forms a granular, densely granular or continuous olive green thallus, convex to hemispherical apothecia often with the Sedifolia-grey pigment and no crystalline granules in the thallus. Micarea microareolata is characterized by a ± pale green areolate thallus (composed of goniocysts), cream-white apothecia lacking the Sedifolia-grey pigment and narrow spores. Micarea laeta has a vivid to olive green granular thallus, pale apothecia lacking the Sedifolia-grey pigment and wider spores compared to M. microareolata. Descriptions, images and a key are provided for the new species. Crystalline granules are introduced as a novel species-level character for Micarea.