KEYS TO THE LICHENS OF ITALY -117) LEPRARIA (with Andreiomyces and Botryolepraria)

Pier Luigi Nimis
Lepraria Ach. was a heterogeneous assemblage of sterile crustose species with leprose, sterile thalli. The genus Leproloma Nyl. ex Cromb. was resurrected by Laundon (1989) for the species containing dibenzofurans, but it was later synonimized again with Lepraria (Kukwa 2002). Although widely acknowledged to be polyphyletic, an alternative taxonomy of Lepraria was not proposed until the thorough revision of mainly American species by Lendemer & Hodkinson (2013), who re-delimited the genus to include c. 80 members of Lepraria that do not produce the secondary compounds argopsin, pannarin and usnic acid. A few superficially similar, but totally unrelated species were segregated into two genera: 1) Botryolepraria Canals, Hern.-Mar., Gómez-Bolea & Llimona (Canals & al. 1997), which is phylogenetically distant from Lepraria s.str. (Ekman & Tønsberg 2002), belonging to the Verrucariaceae (Kukwa & Pérez-Ortega 2010), and, 2) Andreiomyces B.P. Hodk. & Lendemer, characterized by the presence of obtusatic acid, which is now placed in the Arthoniales, in the family Andreiomycetaceae (Hodkinson & Lendemer 2013). Lepraria s.str., which is now placed in the Stereocaulaceae (see Ekman & Tønsberg 2002), is noteworthy because, despite an apparent lack of sexual reproduction, it has continued to diversify both chemically and morphologically; according to Fehrer & al. (2008) the genus could be much larger than currently known. Lendemer (2011) showed that within the genus it is possible to distinguish different morphotypes. The genus was monographed by Baruffo & al. (2006) for Italy, Kukwa (2006) for Poland, Laundon (1992) and Smith & al. (2009) for the British isles, Wirth & al. (2013) for Germany, Lendemer (2013) for North America, and Saag & al. (2009) worldwide. Important information on some species is in Tønsberg (1992, 2002), Tretiach & al. (2009), and Slavíková-Bayerová & Orange (2010).
The present key includes all species of Lepraria s.str. known to occur in Italy (Nimis 2016), some species known from neighbouring countries and to be looked for in Italy (see e.g. Nimis & al. 2018), plus Andreiomyces, Botryolepraria and Lecanora rouxii, which were long considered as members of Lepraria, for a total of 28 species. Due to the scarcity of morphological characters, TLC is often indispensable to obtain reliable identifications. The spot-tests, especially those with K and C, may be difficult to appreciate, due to the hydrorepellent nature of the thalli; they are best observed on acetone extracts using filter paper.


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Ekman S.,Tønsberg T. 2002. Most species of Lepraria and Leproloma form a monophyletic group closely related to Stereocaulon. Mycol. Res., 106: 1262-1276.
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Last modified: August, 28, 2023