J Syst Evol

• Research Articles •    

Diverse epiphyllous fungi on the Cunninghamia leaves from the Oligocene of South China and their paleoecological and paleoclimatic implications

Natalia P. Maslova 1, 2, Aleksandra B. Sokolova 2, Тatiana M. Kodrul 3, Anna V. Tobias 4, Natalia V. Bazhenova 2, Xin-Kai Wu 1, and Jian-Hua Jin 1*   

  1. 1 State Key Laboratory of Biocontrol and Guangdong Key Laboratory of Plant Resources, School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China

    2 Borissiak Paleontological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow 117647, Russia

    3 Geological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow 119017, Russia

    4 Saint-Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg 199034, Russia

  • Received:2020-03-03 Accepted:2020-06-19 Online:2020-06-28

Abstract: The unique co-occurrence of thyriothecia belonging to three fossil genera of epiphyllous fungi, Stomiopeltites Alvin & Muir (Micropeltidaceae), Callimothallus Dilcher, and Trichothyrites Rosendahl (Microthyriaceae), are reported on the leaves of the same host plant, Cunninghamia shangcunica Kodrul, Gordenko & Sokolova from the Oligocene Shangcun Formation of the Maoming Basin, South China. In China, Stomiopeltites is identified for the first time, Callimothallus is known from the Oligocene and Miocene of Guangxi and Zhejiang provinces, and Trichothyrites previously has been found only in the Eocene palynological assemblages of the Maoming Basin. The presence of abundant and diverse epiphyllous micromycetes, together with the taxonomic composition of the Shangcun megaflora and pollen assemblage, as well as quantitative climatic estimates obtained using Climate Leaf Analysis Multivariate Program (CLAMP), confirm the existence of a warm and humid climate in this region during the late early Oligocene. The geographic and stratigraphic distributions, comparisons with extant analogues, as well as ecological and paleoclimatic implications of the fossil fungi are discussed.

Key words: Ascomycota, host plants, Microthyriaceae, Micropeltidaceae, paleoecology, thyriothecia