Lichens are hybrid symbiotic organisms, with a 'body' comprised of Fungal hyphae within which can be found cells of an Algal symbiont, and (it has recently been discovered) a third, Bacterial component that somehow facilitates the symbiosis between the other two partners. This unique symbiosis enables lichens to survive in a wide variety of habitats found inhospitable by other organisms. Members of the genus Strigula are found growing on the leaves of tropical plants. About 70 species have been described to date, of which 21 come from China.
In a paper published in the journal MycoKeys on 25 January 2017, Shu-Hua Jiang of the State Key Laboratory of Mycology at the Institute of Microbiology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xin-Li Wei, also of the State Key Laboratory of Mycology at the Institute of Microbiology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Jiang-Chun Wei, again of the State Key Laboratory of Mycology at the Institute of Microbiology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, describe two new species of Strigula from South China.
The first new species is named Strigula acuticonidiarum, meaning 'sharply pointed macroconidia', in reference to the shape of the spores (macroconidia). This species forms a symbiotic relationship with Green Algae of the genus Cephaleuros, which are often found as parasites of tropical and subtropical Plants, including a number of commercially important species. The colonies are hemispherical in shape, 0.5-4 mm across and 10-25 μm thick, and dark green in colour with black patches on its upper surface. The species was found growing on the leaves of a variety of plants in semi-exposed humid forests in Guangxi and Yunnan Provinces.
Strigula acuticonidiarum. (a) Thallus with perithecia and pycnidia (b) Asci, with eight biseriate ascospores (c) Ascospores, with constriction at septum (d) Macroconidia. Scale bars: (a) = 300 μm, (b), (c), (d) = 10 μm. Jiang et al. (2017).
The second new species is named Strigula guangxiensis, meaning 'from Guangxi'. This species forms flattened colonies typically 1-2 mm across (some reach 3 mm) and 30–45 μm thick. The are pale or bright green in colour, sometimes while towards the centre and have areas of black hardened tissue. This species was found growing on leaves in semi-exposed humid forests in the Longhu Mountain Natural Reserve in Guangxi Province.
Strigula guangxiensis. (a) Thallus with perithecia (b) Thallus with pycnidia (c), (d) Perithecia (e) Asci with eight biseriate ascospores (f) Ascospores, with distal cell slightly enlarged (g) Macroconidia; (h) Microconidia. Scale bars: (a), (b) =100 μm; (c), (d) =50 μm; (e), (f), (g), (h) =10 μm. Jiang et al. (2017).
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