• cpcBA sequences;
  • cyanobacteria;
  • microscopy;
  • morphology;
  • taxonomy;
  • ultrastructure

Geitlerinema amphibium (C. Agardh ex Gomont) Anagn. and G. unigranulatum (Rama N. Singh) Komárek et M. T. P. Azevedo are morphologically close species with characteristics frequently overlapping. Ten strains of Geitlerinema (six of G. amphibium and four of G. unigranulatum) were analyzed by DNA sequencing and transmission electronic and optical microscopy. Among the investigated strains, the two species were not separated with respect to cellular dimensions, and cellular width was the most varying characteristic. The number and localization of granules, as well as other ultrastructural characteristics, did not provide a means to discriminate between the two species. The two species were not separated either by geography or environment. These results were further corroborated by the analysis of the cpcB-cpcA intergenic spacer (PC-IGS) sequences. Given the fact that morphology is very uniform, plus the coexistence of these populations in the same habitat, it would be nearly impossible to distinguish between them in nature. On the other hand, two of the analyzed strains were distinct from all others based on the PC-IGS sequences, in spite of their morphological similarity. PC-IGS sequences indicate that these two strains could be a different species of Geitlerinema. Using morphology, cell ultrastructure, and PC-IGS sequences, it is not possible to distinguish G. amphibium and G. unigranulatum. Therefore, they should be treated as one species, G. unigranulatum as a synonym of G. amphibium.