Melaspileella (P. Karst.) Vain., Ann. Acad. Sci. fenn., Ser. A 15(no. 6): 317 (1921).
= Mycomelaspilea Reinke, in Pringsheim, Jb. wiss. Bot. 28: 136 (1895)..
Index Fungorum number: IF 3095; Facesoffungi number: FoF 07733, 1 morphological species (Species Fungorum 2022), 1 species with molecular data.
Saprobic on host. Sexual morph: Ascomata small rounded superficial with an exposed hymenium at maturity, an exciple widely discontinuous under the hymenium, without periphyses, a pale hypothecium, mainly unbranched paraphyses having brownish tips. Asci broadly clavate to ellipsoid with a thick wall in upper part. Ascospores one-septate, hyaline (becoming brownish at maturity) with polar flagellae, constricted at the septum. Asexual morph: Unknown (Adapted from Ertz and Diederich 2014).
Type species: Melaspileella proximella (Nyl.) Ertz & Diederich.
Notes: Melaspileella was introduced by Vainio (1921) with M. proximella as type species. Melaspileella is characterised by superficial rounded ascomata, broadly clavate to ellipsoid asci and one-septate, hyaline to brown ascospores with polar flagellae. Karsten (1885) first described Melaspileella as a subgenus and accepted three species namely Celidium nephromiarium, C. neglectulum and C. proximellum. Vainio (1921) raised Melaspileella to genus rank and used the name Melaspileella for two species of Melaspilea s. lat. namely M. microspilota and M. pandani and considered M. proximella as the type species of the genus. Ertz and Diederich (2015) provided a lectotype of M. proximella and transferred the genus to Asterinales without a familial rank. Ertz and Diederich (2015) also re-examined the type species B. setispora described by Zeller and Tóth (1960) and Kutorga and Hawksworth (1997) and synonymized Banhegyia under Melaspileella as there was no morphological differences between the two genera. Ertz and Diederich (2015) also transferred Melaspilea bagliettoana to Melaspileella based on the polar flagellae ascospores. The polar flagellae cannot be seen in the herbarium material of Melaspileella proximella and Banhegyia and are present only in fresh specimen as reported by Kutorga and Hawksworth (1997). In the phylogenetic analysis of Dai et al. (2018) based on LSU and SSU sequence data, M. proximella formed an independent lineage and was accommodated in a new family, Melaspileellaceae. Melaspileella morphologically resembles Karschia in having rounded and dark ascomata, but is phylogenetically distinct. Melaspileella is a distinct and type genus of Melaspileellaceae. Molecular markers available for Melaspileella include SSU and ITS.
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