Morphological and molecular examination of relationships and epitype establishment of Phacus pleuronectes, Phacus orbicularis, and Phacus hamelii1


  • 1

    Received 7 April 2006. Accepted 17 April 2007.


Verification of morphological diagnostic features and the establishment of three epitypes for three species of Phacus Dujardin—Phacus pleuronectes (O. F. Müll.) Dujardin, Phacus orbicularis Hübner, and Phacus hamelii Allorge et Lefèvre—was performed based on literature studies and analysis of morphological (cell shape, cell size, and periplast ornamentation) as well as molecular (18S rDNA) characters. Periplast ornamentation was recognized as a main diagnostic character, distinguishing P. orbicularis from P. pleuronectes and P. hamelii. Phacus orbicularis has struts running perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the strips, while P. pleuronectes and P. hamelii do not. On the SSU rDNA tree, obtained by the Bayesian method, P. orbicularis, P. pleuronectes, and P. hamelii belong to three distinct clades. Some of the phylogenetic relationships are not resolved, but there are at least three Phacus species (P. hamatus, P. platyaulax, P. longicauda; for taxonomic authors, see Introduction) that are more closely related to P. orbicularis than is P. pleuronectes. Phacus hamelii is more closely related to P. ranula and the assemblage of several species of Phacus, which have small cells, than to P. orbicularis or P. pleuronectes.