Massalongiaceae fam. nov., an overlooked monophyletic group among the cyanobacterial lichens (Peltigerales, Lecanoromycetes, Ascomycota)
In this investigation we utilized parsimony and Bayesian analyses of mtSSU and nuLSU rDNA sequence datasets to show that the lichenized ascomycete genera Leptochidium and Polychidium (formerly classified in Placynthiaceae) form a well-supported monophyletic group with Massalongia (Peltigerales, Lecanoromycetes, Ascomycota). This group is also supported by morphological characteristics (ascus type, ascoma ontogeny and anatomy), but does not have a formal name on any level. We describe it here as the family Massalongiaceae. Massalongiaceae is related to a group consisting of Peltigeraceae-Nephromataceae, and Lobariaceae, but the detailed relationships within this group are not resolved with convincing support.(Published Online December 22 2006)
(Accepted August 18 2006)
Key Words: ascomycetes; classification; Lecanorales; lichens; new taxa; Peltigerales; phylogeny; systematics; taxonomy.