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Phylogenetic and morphological re-evaluation of Antherospora on Barnardia japonica collected in Japan

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Antherospora vaillantii is an anther smut fungus that was originally considered occurring on Muscari spp. around the world; however, cryptic species were revealed during recent taxonomic investigations, thus emphasizing the importance of host specificity. In Japan, A. vaillantii was identified on Barnardia japonica in 1936. Although the recent revelations indicate that it may be part of a complex based on the host plant genus, the phylogenetic placement of this Japanese species is currently unresolved. In this investigation, seven specimens of the A. vaillantii complex were collected from the Kanto area of Japan, and six new single teliospore isolates were established. Molecular phylogenetic analyses based on the internal transcribed spacer sequences and large subunit nuclear ribosomal DNA (28S) region indicated that the new samples formed a monophyletic clade with other Antherospora spp. among Floromycetaceae lineage. Our samples were separated from other known species of Antherospora and formed a robust monophyletic clade in any analysis. Detailed morphological observations revealed that the new samples could be distinguished from other known Antherospora species. As a result, it is proposed that Antherospora barnardiae can accommodate B. japonica parasites.

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Data availability

The DNA sequences have been deposited at DDBJ under accession number LC768799–LC768804.


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We thank T. Baba and R. Endoh for their kind suggestion for the original manuscript. We thank the librarians of the RIKEN Library for their kind assistance. We would like to thank Editage ( for English language editing. The authors gratefully acknowledge a loan of herbarium specimens from the Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Natural History (KPM). The first author and second author thank Dr. Y. Degawa, Dr. Y. Takashima, Urban Department Townscape & Green Section Landscape Manager in Chigasaki City, and volunteers of Shimizuyato Park for their help in the collection of fungal specimens.


This work was partially supported by funds obtained from JSPS KAKENHI Grant Numbers 19H05689 and 21K15155 to MO and AH, respectively.

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Authors and Affiliations



Research proposals: SS. Conceived and designed the experiments: AH and SS. Field research: AH and SS. Performed the experiments: AH. Methodology: AH. Review and editing: SS, AH, and MO. Supervision: MO. Wrote paper: AH and SS.

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Correspondence to Akira Hashimoto.

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The authors declare that there is no ethical statement. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Section Editor: Dominik Begerow

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Hashimoto, A., Shibata, S. & Ohkuma, M. Phylogenetic and morphological re-evaluation of Antherospora on Barnardia japonica collected in Japan. Mycol Progress 22, 87 (2023).

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