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Open Access The genus Elaphomyces (Ascomycota, Eurotiales): a ribosomal DNA-based phylogeny and revised systematics of European 'deer truffles'

Elaphomyces ('deer truffles') is one of the most important ectomycorrhizal fungal genera in temperate and subarctic forest ecosystems, but also one of the least documented in public databases. The current systematics are mainly based on macromorphology, and is not significantly different from that proposed by Vittadini (1831). Within the 49 species recognised worldwide, 23 were originally described from Europe and 17 of these were described before the 20th century. Moreover, very recent phylogenetic treatments of the genus are mainly based on a few extra-European species and most common European species are still poorly documented. Based on an extensive taxonomic sampling mainly made in the biogeographically rich Cantabrian area (Spain), complemented with collections from France, Greece, Italy, Norway, Portugal and Sweden, all currently recognized species in Europe have been sequenced at the ITS and 28S of the rDNA. Combined phylogenetic analyses yielded molecular support to sections Elaphomyces and Ceratogaster (here emended), while a third, basal lineage encompasses the sections Malacodermei and Ascoscleroderma as well as the tropical genus Pseudotulostoma. Species limits are discussed and some taxa formerly proposed as genuine species based on morphology and biogeography are re-evaluated as varieties or forms. Spore size and ornamentation, features of the peridial surface, structure of the peridium, and the presence of mycelium patches attached to the peridial surface emerge as the most significant systematic characters. Four new species: E. barrioi, E. quercicola, E. roseolus and E. violaceoniger, one new variety: E. papillatus var. sulphureopallidus, and two new forms: E. granulatus forma pallidosporus and E. anthracinus forma talosporus are introduced, as well as four new combinations in the genus: E. muricatus var. reticulatus, E. muricatus var. variegatus, E. papillatus var. striatosporus and E. morettii var. cantabricus. Lectotypes and epitypes are designated for most recognised species. For systematic purposes, new infrageneric taxa are introduced: E. sect. Ascoscleroderma stat. nov., E. subsect. Sclerodermei stat. nov., E. subsect. Maculati subsect. nov., E. subsect. Muricati subsect. nov., and E. subsect. Papillati subsect. nov. Lastly, E. laevigatus, E. sapidus, E. sulphureopallidus and E. trappei are excluded from the genus and referred to Rhizopogon roseolus, Astraeus sapidus comb. nov., Astraeus hygrometricus and Terfezia trappei comb. nov. (syn.: Terfezia cistophila), respectively.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 30, 2017

This article was made available online on June 2, 2017 as a Fast Track article with title: "The genus Elaphomyces (Ascomycota, Eurotiales): a ribosomal DNA-based phylogeny and revised systematics of European ‘deer truffles’".

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  • Persoonia aims to publish papers dealing with molecular phylogeny and evolution of fungi. A further aim is to promote fungal taxonomy by employing a polythetic approach to clarify the true phylogeny and relationships within the kingdom Fungi. The journal publishes high-quality papers elucidating known and novel fungal taxa at the DNA level, and also strives to present novel insights into evolutionary processes and relationships. Papers to be considered include research articles and reviews.

    Papers are published using a Fast Track system. This implies that the papers are immediately published online and freely available through the internet via this website. Volumes appear twice a year (June and December). From Volume 36 onwards (2016) hard copy volumes will only be made available through printing-on-demand. The issues can be ordered separately through the Publication Division of Naturalis Biodiversity Center; e-mail: [email protected].

    Persoonia is a journal published jointly by the Naturalis Biodiversity Center and the Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute.
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