A Lichenicolous Fungus on Cladonia zopfii

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Neil Sanderson
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A Lichenicolous Fungus on Cladonia zopfii

Post by Neil Sanderson » Mon Nov 02, 2020 10:09 pm

Out walking the dogs after the rain of last week on Saturday I got a really nice lichenicolous fungus on a Cladonia. I went on a targeted hunt for Cladonia zopfii on the edge of Denny Bog in the Bishop of Winchester’s Purlieu in the east of the New Forest. Cladonia zopfii had been recorded from adjacent 1km squares and there was a sizeable area of suitable habitat (wet heath grading into bog) visible on Google Earth.

2020-11-01-01 .jpg
Cladonia zopfii, from the day after, the result of another successful Cladonia zopfii hunt but in the same habitat, open lichen rich wet heath.

This area did prove to be a lichen rich wet heath and I found some Cladonia arbuscula, another expected denizen of this habitat, before finally finding a small patch Cladonia zopfii. After admiring it, I noticed there was also some poor looking Cladonia zopfii, which was stained purple and brown. I could not see any apothecia or pycnidia and I am not keen on trying to identify possible lichenicolous fungi where I can not even see any of these structures, but this was Cladonia zopfii so I collected it.

2020-10-30-01.jpg
An infected thali of Cladonia zopfii (wet, when the colours are stronger)

Back at the microscope I could see there actually were Taeniolella like conidiophores bristling out of the browner bits. This proved easy to identify; it was Taeniolella cladinicola, new to England with only a few previous records from Cladonia arbuscula in Scotland in Britain. A lovely find. The thallus of Taeniolella cladinicola lives not just inside the hosts thallus, but inside the hosts hyphae, sending out conidiophores to the surface.

2020-10-30-02.jpg
2020-10-30-03.jpg
Closer views of heavily infected areas, showing the short conidiophores emerging from the thallus

Heucher et al (2018) Taxonomic monograph of the genus Taeniolella s. lat. (Ascomycota) https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ ... c-live-03# (open access) gives the recorded hosts as Cladonia arbuscula, C. mitis, C. portentosa, C. rangiferina, C. uncialis and C. zopfii. All but C. portentosa are reasonably closely related, but C. portentosa is very distantly related from the other hosts. Taeniolella cladinicola has been found scattered across Europe.

One to look out for, and, at least in England, all the hosts are in decline, except Cladonia portentosa, from which it has been rarely recorded.

I have not forgotten about doing something on Zoom on identifying the the Reindeermosses and look a like Cladonia species but some work has come up, so I have been busy. I will try and get things going.

Neil
Neil Sanderson

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Re: A Lichenicolous Fungus on Cladonia zopfii

Post by Neil Sanderson » Mon Nov 09, 2020 10:54 pm

Going through my Cladonia zopfii pictures for another reason, I spotted the tell tail purple and brown colours of a Taeniolella cladinicola infection on what was my second ever discover of Cladonia zopfii in the New Forest, recorded with Pat Wolseley during work for the Natural History Museum in 2011.

Cladonia_zopfii_2.jpg
Cladonia zopfii with Taeniolella cladinicola showing as purple and brown splotches.

It will be slightly odd if this lichenicolous fungi is only on the rather rare Cladonia zopfii in the Forest and not on its commoner alternative hosts of Cladonia arbuscula and Cladonia uncialis.

Neil
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Chris Yeates
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Re: A Lichenicolous Fungus on Cladonia zopfii

Post by Chris Yeates » Fri Nov 13, 2020 5:52 pm

Neil Sanderson wrote: Mon Nov 09, 2020 10:54 pm Going through my Cladonia zopfii pictures for another reason, I spotted the tell tail purple and brown colours of a Taeniolella cladinicola infection on what was my second ever discover of Cladonia zopfii in the New Forest, recorded with Pat Wolseley during work for the Natural History Museum in 2011.


Cladonia_zopfii_2.jpg
Cladonia zopfii with Taeniolella cladinicola showing as purple and brown splotches.

It will be slightly odd if this lichenicolous fungi is only on the rather rare Cladonia zopfii in the Forest and not on its commoner alternative hosts of Cladonia arbuscula and Cladonia uncialis.

Neil
Hi Neil
I'm assuming you are aware of this paper https://www.researchgate.net/publicatio ... olous_taxa ?
Best wishes
Chris
"You must know it's right, the spore is on the wind tonight"
Steely Dan - "Rose Darling"

Neil Sanderson
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Re: A Lichenicolous Fungus on Cladonia zopfii

Post by Neil Sanderson » Mon Nov 16, 2020 2:49 pm

Chris

Thank, yes I do, which does remind me I probably have Taeniolella hawksworthiana on Phaeographis dendritica in the New Forest, which is described in this paper but this is also probably just the anamorph of Stictographa lentiginosa (I have found them together), which is frequent on Phaeographis dendritica here, so not so exciting.

I have now found more Taeniolella cladinicola in the New Forest, this time on Cladonia uncialis subsp. biuncialis, so another new host for Britain, and not as strange as only being on Cladonia zopfii. Look for unhappy looking Cladonia uncialis, typically in quite damp ground so far, and look for the characteristic colours. The stubble of conidiophores emerging from the brown areas is tiny but can be seen in the x10 hand lens by holding the thallus unto the light, which is good for confirming in the field. This lichenicolous fungus should be frequent in areas with a high cover of Cladonia uncialis, but that species seems to be in decline in quite large areas of Britain. I have had the thought that a promoted survey of Cladonia uncialis, as an easy Cladonia to ID might be a good way of getting up to date data on how heathland/moorland lichens are doing.

Any thoughts?

Neil
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Re: A Lichenicolous Fungus on Cladonia zopfii

Post by CJohnsonOHBR » Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:44 am

No shortgae of C. uncialis or C. arbuscula in the Outer Hebrides. Provided that it eventually stops raining/blowing a gale, I will look for signs of Taeniolella.
I would find a Zoom tutorial on identifying Cladonia very useful.

Thanks

Christine

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