Pier Luigi Nimis
The genus Epigloea (Zukal 1890), with c. 12 species, includes algicolous fungi occurring on algal films over decaying vegetation, mainly bryophytes but also lichens and plant debris. Its association with algae was considered as a form of highly adapted biotrophic parasitism, as the hyphae form haustoria within the algal cells without any apparent benefit to the algae, but the precise biological nature of the algicolous lifestyle, whether lichenised, weakly parasitic, or necrotrophic, still requires further study. While the ascocarps of some Epigloea-species have commonly been interpreted as perithecia, Pino-Bodas & al. (2017) found that E. soleiformis is related to Arthrorhaphis and Anzina, two apotheciate genera, suggesting that the ascocarps should be considered perithecioid apothecia; they placed the genus in the subclass Ostropomycetidae, a group with diverse ascocarp forms ranging from perithecia to apothecia. The genus is presently placed in its own family, Epigloeaceae, of uncertain position within the Pezizomycotina (Lumbsch & Huhndorf 2010). The genus, which was monographed by Döbbeler (1984, see also 1994), with a worldwide key by McCune (2020), as been extensively studied in France (Montavont 1992, Boissière & Montavont 1998), the British Isles (Chambers & David 2009), Poland (Ceynowa-Giełdon 2002, 2005, Cykowska & Flakus 2005, 2013, Czarnota & Hernik 2013) and the Iberian Peninsula (Pérez-Ortega 2009, Pérez-Ortega & Barreno 2006). Further information is in Grummann (1968), and David (1987).
Only three species are known from Italy (Nimis 2016). However, due to the very small size of the ascocarps, their ephemeral nature, and the life-style which is at the border of our concept of a lichen, many species might have been overlooked. The present key includes all species known from Europe, which should be looked for in Italy, for a total of 9 species.


Boissière J.C., Montavont J.P. 1998. Lichen de France (XI): Epigloea filifera Döbb. et Lobaria amplissima (Scop.) Forss. dans sa forme avec céphalodies. Bull. Ass. Fr. Lichénologie, 23: 1-6.
Ceynowa-Giełdon M. 2002. The genus Epigloea in Poland. Acta Mycologica, 37, 1/2: 3-11.
Ceynowa-Giełdon M. 2005. New localities of Epigloea bactrospora and E. pleiospora in Poland. Graphis Scripta, 17: 52-55.
Chambers S.P., David J.C. 2009. Epigloea. In: Smith C.W: & al. (eds.), The Lichens of Great Britain and Ireland. British Lichen Society, London, pp. 392-394.
Cykowska B., Flakus A. 2005. Epigloea medioincrassata (Epigloeaceae, non-lichenized Ascomycota), a species new to Poland. Polish Bot. J., 50, 2: 233-234.
Czarnota P., Hernik E. 2013. Notes on two lichenicolous Epigloea species from Central Europe. Acta Soc. Bot. Poloniae, 82, 4: 321-324.
David J.C. 1987. Studies on the genus Epigloea. Syst. Ascomycetum, 6: 217-221.
Döbbeler P. 1984. Symbiosen zwischen Gallertalgen und Gallertpilzen der Gattung Epigloea (Ascomycetes). Beih. Nova Hedwigia, 79: 203-239.
Döbbeler P. 1994. Epigloea urosperma (Ascomycetes) - ein neuer Flechtenparasit. Sendtnera, 2: 277-282.
Grummann V.J. 1968. Alte und neue Halbflechten. Ein neuer Flechtenparasit. Placynthium asperellum neu für Mitteleuropa. Sydowia, 22: 216-224.
Lumbsch H.T., Huhndorf S.M. 2010. Outline of Ascomycota. 2009. Fieldiana, Life and Earth Sciences, 1: 1-60.
McCune B. 2020. Epigloea diversispora, a new possibly lichenized ascomycete from Oregon, with a key to the World species. Bryologist, 123, 3: 534-540.
Montavont J.-P. 1992. A propos d'Epigloea bactrospora Zukal dans les Vosges. Bull. Ass. Fr. Lichénologie, 17: 15-19.
Nimis P.L. 2016. The lichens of Italy. A second annotated catalogue. EUT, Trieste, 740 pp.
Pérez-Ortega S. 2009. New records of Epigloea Zukal from Spain. Botanica Complutensis, 33: 7-8.
Pérez-Ortega S., Barreno E. 2006. The genus Epigloea in the Iberian Peninsula. Nova Hedwigia, 83: 523-531.
Pino-Bodas R., Zhurbenko M.P., Stenroos S. 2017. Phylogenetic placement within Lecanoromycetes of lichenicolous fungi associated with Cladonia and some other genera. Persoonia, 39: 91-117.
Zukal H. 1890. Epigloea bactrospora (eine neue Gallertflechten mit chlorophyllhältigen Gonidien). Oesterr. bot. Zeitschr., 40, 9: 323-328.

Last modified: October, 14, 2022