Organisms Diversity & Evolution

, Volume 11, Issue 5, pp 331–342 | Cite as

Another example of cryptic diversity in lichen-forming fungi: the new species Parmelia mayi (Ascomycota: Parmeliaceae)

  • M. Carmen Molina
  • Ruth Del-Prado
  • Pradeep Kumar Divakar
  • Daniel Sánchez-Mata
  • Ana Crespo
Original Article


In the last decade, a number of cryptic species have been discovered in lichenized fungi, especially in species with a cosmopolitan or disjunctive distribution. Parmelia saxatilis is one of the most common and widely distributed species. Recent molecular studies have detected two species, P. ernstiae and P. serrana, within P. saxatilis s. lat., suggesting the existence of considerable genetic diversity that may not yet be expressed at the phenotypic level. Due to the complexity in the P. saxatilis s. lat. group, we used this as a model to study the species boundary and identify cryptic lineages. We used Phylogenetic (Bayes, ML and MP) and genetic distance approaches to analyze ITS and β-tubulin sequences. Our results confirm the existence of another cryptic lineage within P. saxatilis s. lat. This lineage is described herein as a new species, P. mayi. It forms an independent, strongly supported, monophyletic lineage, distantly related to the morphologically similar species P. ernstiae, P. saxatilis and P. serrana. Morphologically, it is indistinguishable from P. saxatilis but the new species is separated by molecular, bioclimatic, biogeographic and chemical characters. At present, P. mayi appears to have a restricted distribution in the northern Appalachian mountain territories of North America. It is found in climatic conditions ranging from hemiboreal and orotemperate to cryorotemperate ultrahyperhumid bioclimates.


Cryptic lineage New species Parmelia saxatilis complex Molecular phylogeny Genetic distance Biogeography Bioclimatology 



We thank Olaf R. P. Bininda-Emonds, Imke Schmitt and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions, which improved the manuscript This work was supported by the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (CGL 2010-21646/BOS), and Ramón y Cajal start-up grant (RYC02007-01576) to P.K.D. Sequencing was performed in El Centro de Genómica y Proteómica del Parque Científico de Madrid. We are grateful to Phil Mason and Mr. Edison M. Castro for English revision of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Gesellschaft für Biologische Systematik 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Carmen Molina
    • 1
  • Ruth Del-Prado
    • 2
  • Pradeep Kumar Divakar
    • 2
  • Daniel Sánchez-Mata
    • 2
  • Ana Crespo
    • 2
  1. 1.Departamento de Biología y Geología (Área de Biodiversidad y Conservación), ESCETUniversidad Rey Juan CarlosMóstolesSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de Biología Vegetal II, Facultad de FarmaciaUniversidad Complutense de MadridMadridSpain

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