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Lago, M., N. L. Bougher & M. L. Castro. Morphological variability and implications for definition of taxa in the Descolea-Setchelliogaster-Descomyces complex. Mycotaxon 78: 37-57. 2001.

ABSTRACT: Morphological continuums, which transgress traditional morphological boundaries, are expressed by many taxa within the Descolea-Setchellliogaster-Descomyces complex. We examine the contention that key macroscopic and microscopic characters traditionally used to distinguish some taxa of the complex are quantitatively variable components of the same taxon. We focus on Setchelliogaster and synonymize S. rheophyllus under S. tenuipes. Synonymy is necessary because form of basidioma/hymenium and occurence of cystidia is highly variable within and between collections variously ascribed to these species. There is a direct relationship between the type of hymenial development and the abundance of cystidia. Other examples of high morphological variability within taxa of the complex are shown with Descolea maculata, D. gunnii and S. australiensis. Implications of variability in taxa include: (a) Generic names defined by basidiomal form are categories useful in a broad practical sense but may not be biologically distinct as their boundaries are transgressed by some taxa, e.g. D. maculata has forms typical of Descolea and Setchelliogaster. (b) Variations in basidiomal form expressed by taxa may be strong or weak. Broader species concepts than currently recognised are necessary for some species.

KEYWORDS: Sequestrate fungi, species concept, cystidial abundance, Eucalyptus plantations, taxonomy


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