Mycological Progress

, 15:39 | Cite as

Combined phylogenetic and morphological studies of true morels (Pezizales, Ascomycota) in Cyprus reveal significant diversity, including Morchella arbutiphila and M. disparilis spp. nov.

  • Michael LoizidesEmail author
  • Jean-Michel Bellanger
  • Philippe Clowez
  • Franck Richard
  • Pierre-Arthur Moreau
Original Article


A detailed account of the genus Morchella in the island of Cyprus is presented, based on integrative phylogenetic, morphoanatomical, ecological, and chorological analyses. Eleven species are molecularly confirmed, nine of them previously unreported from the island. Notably, four species are recognized as new to science, including one species in Sect. Morchella and three in Sect. Distantes. Two of these are here newly described, as Morchella arbutiphila and Morchella disparilis, respectively, whilst the other two are provisionally assigned the phylogenetic codes Mes-28 and Mel-38. Following careful re-examination of the Morchella vulgaris clade, two closely related sister species are revealed, and the taxon Morchella dunensis is revived to accommodate Mes-17. A description for the widespread, yet poorly known Mediterranean species Morchella dunalii is further provided, and a detailed polythetic approach is introduced in systematics, to overcome the inherent difficulties associated with the morphological recognition of phylogenetically confirmed species. The presence on the island of five species of transcontinental distribution, accounting for nearly half of the total number of species recorded, sheds new light on the genus biogeography, questioning the hypothesis of recent anthropogenic dispersals of morel species. Overall, our results place Cyprus as a worldwide hotspot of Morchella diversity, establishing the island as a place of special interest in future studies aiming to decipher the evolutionary history and ecological trends within this iconic genus.


Integrative taxonomy Island ecosystem Mediterranean Morchella dunalii Morchella dunensis Morchella vulgaris 



We are indebted to our friend Pablo Alvarado, for generating and analyzing many of the sequences cited in this work; to Marcel Lecomte for his advice on staining chemicals for microscopy; to Yiangos Yiangou, for his valuable field observations and image of Morchella cf galilaea (Fig. 16l); to Father Savvas Michaelides, for his continuous support and collection of M. dunensis (Moutoullas); to Daniel Markides, for his collections of M. disparilis (Prastio) and M. dunensis (Amiantos); to Michalis Georgiades, for his collection of M. rufobrunnea (Ayia Fila); and to Michalis Chelides, for his collections of M. dunalii and M. tridentina (Lythrodontas). We are further grateful to Boris Assyov (Bulgaria), John Karagkiozis (Greece), Kostas Manatakis (Greece), Evgenia Tziava (Greece), Antonio Palazón (Spain), and Olga Godorova (Israel), for kindly providing us with information on the ecology and distribution of morel species outside Cyprus. Last but not least, our gratitude extends to Prof. Gabriel Moreno, for making the holotype and isoparatype of M. dunensis available to us for molecular analysis.


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Copyright information

© German Mycological Society and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Loizides
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jean-Michel Bellanger
    • 2
  • Philippe Clowez
    • 3
  • Franck Richard
    • 2
  • Pierre-Arthur Moreau
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.LimassolCyprus
  2. 2.UMR 5175 CEFE – Université de Montpellier - INSERMMontpellierFrance
  3. 3.Pont-l’EvêqueFrance
  4. 4.Département des Sciences Végétales et Fongiques, Faculté des Sciences Pharmaceutiques et BiologiquesUniv Lille 2LilleFrance
  5. 5.Univ de Lille, EA 4483, INSERM, Institut Pasteur de LilleLilleFrance

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