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Keywords:

  • Botryodesmis;
  • Bryopsidales;
  • cryptic diversity;
  • molecular phylogenetics;
  • Pseudochlorodesmis;
  • Siphonogramen;
  • thallus complexity

The genus Pseudochlorodesmis (Bryopsidales) is composed of diminutive siphons of extreme morphological simplicity. The discovery of Pseudochlorodesmis-like juveniles in more complex Bryopsidales (e.g., the Halimeda microthallus stage) jeopardized the recognition of this genus. Confronted with this uncertainty, taxonomists transferred many simple siphons into a new genus, Siphonogramen. In this study, we used a multimarker approach to clarify the phylogenetic and taxonomic affinities of the Pseudochlorodesmis-Siphonogramen (PS) complex within the more morphologically complex bryopsidalean taxa. Our analyses reveal a new layer of diversity largely distinct from the lineages containing the structurally complex genera. The PS complex shows profound cryptic diversity exceeding the family level. We discuss a potential link between thallus complexity and the prevalence and profundity of cryptic diversity. For taxonomic simplicity and as a first step toward clarifying the taxonomy of these simple siphons, we propose to maintain Pseudochlorodesmis as a form genus and subsume Siphonogramen and Botryodesmis therein.