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Taxonomic and Phylogenetic Reassessment of Pyrgidium (Mycocaliciales) and Investigation of Ascospore Morphology

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Mycocaliciales comprise non-lichenized either saprotrophic or lichenicolous fungi which occur in temperate and tropical regions. The mazaediate, saprotrophic and monospecific genus, Pyrgidium, is currently assigned to this order, yet the phylogenetic placement of the genus has remained uncertain due to the absence of molecular data. In order to investigate the systematic position of Pyrgidium, two specimens collected in Brazil and Thailand, respectively, were used to generate mtSSU, SSU, LSU and ITS sequences. However, given that most other representatives of this order only have LSU and ITS sequences available, the phylogenetic reconstruction was limited to these two markers. The phylogenetic analyses confirmed placement of the genus within Mycocaliciales, the genus possessing a sister group relationship with the lichenicolous genus Sphinctrina. Detailed morphological descriptions and illustrations are provided, including those for type specimens of the various synonyms subsumed under the hitherto only accepted species, Pyrgidium montellicum (Beltr.) Tibell. The ascospore morphology was investigated using compound and scanning electronic microscopy (SEM). Principal component analysis (PCA) was performed for the ascospore size using PC-ORD 7. The molecular data and re-examination of the type specimens support the monospecific nature of this genus.

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