Rhizoplaca melanophthalma (DC.) Leuckert & Poelt Nova Hedwigia 28: 72 (1977)

Leavitt, Steven D., Fernandez-Mendoza, Fernando, Perez-Ortega, Sergio, Sohrabi, Mohammad, Divakar, Pradeep K., Lumbsch, H. Thorsten & Clair, Larry L. St., 2013, DNA barcode identification of lichen-forming fungal species in the Rhizoplaca melanophthalma species-complex (Lecanorales, Lecanoraceae), including five new species, MycoKeys 7, pp. 1-22: 7-8

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Rhizoplaca melanophthalma (DC.) Leuckert & Poelt Nova Hedwigia 28: 72 (1977)


Rhizoplaca melanophthalma (DC.) Leuckert & Poelt Nova Hedwigia 28: 72 (1977)  


Lichen melanophthalma   Ramond in Lamarck & de Candolle, Fl. Franc. Ed. 3.2:377 (1805).


Spain, Teruel, Noguera de Albarracín, carretera A-1521 hacia Orihuela del Tremedal, antes de la Peña del Castillo, pista a "Ruta Laguna", “Peña Aguada", 30TXK16815, 1590 m alt., on quartzite in a Quercus pyrenaica   and Pinus sylvestris   forest, 04 October 2010, M. Vivas & J. Rico, Vivas 94, MAF -Lich 16805 (Epitype: MAF-Lich). We were unable to obtain fresh material from the Pic du Midi de Bigorre in the French Pyrenees (location of original type collection of Rhizoplaca melanophthalma   ). In order to fix the application of the name, we selected a specimen from Teruel, Spain (MAF-Lich 16805) as the epitype. The epitype shares an identical ITS haplotype with specimens collected in Chile, China, Spain, Switzerland, and the USA, and thus appropriately represents the cosmopolitan distribution of Rhizoplaca melanophthalma   s.s. The ITS sequence of the epitype is deposited in GenBank under accession no. JX948232.


A morphological description can be found in Leuckert et al. (1977) and Ryan (2001). Rhizoplaca melanophthalma   consists of specimens recovered within 'clade II’ in Leavitt et al. (2011a), which is supported as a lineage distinct from all other populations according to coalescent-based genetic analysis of multiple genetic loci. The mean genetic distances among ITS haplotypes was estimated to be 0.009 ± 0.006.

Chemistry - Usnic acid (major); usually with psoromic (major), constipatic (minor), dehydroconstipatic (minor), dehydroprotocetraric (minor), and 2'-O-demethylsubpsoromic (minor or trace) acids; occasionally with subpsoromic (minor) and 2'-O-demethylpsoromic (minor) acids.

Reference phylogeny.

Supplementary file 2 (terminal label: ‘6604’) & Leavitt et al. 2011a (fig. 5, 'clade II’).

Reference sequence.

GenBank no. JX948232.

Phylogenetic notes: Strongly supported as monophyletic lineage in both concatenated multilocus gene tree (ML bootstrap = 95%: posterior probability = 1.0) and the ITS gene topology (ML bootstrap = 91%, this study); and strong speciation probability inferred from multiple loci (BPP speciation probability = 1.0).

Ecology and distribution.

In its narrower circumscription, this taxon isknown from Antarctica, Asia (including Central Asia and China), Europe, North and South America. The species has also been recorded from alpine areas in the tropics. However, additional studies are required to verify the identity of these populations. It typically occurs on exposed calcium-poor rock (e.g. basalt, granite, schist), but sometimes on calcium rich sandstone and limestone. It ranges in distribution from arid lowland woodlands into upper montane coniferous forests and the lower portions of the alpine tundra.

Specimens examined

. See supplementary file 1.