J Syst Evol ›› 2020, Vol. 58 ›› Issue (3): 295-330.DOI: 10.1111/jse.12503

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Substrate switches, phenotypic innovations and allopatric speciation formed taxonomic diversity within the lichen genus Blastenia

Jan Vondrák1,2*, Ivan Frolov2,3, Jiří Košnar2, Ulf Arup4, Tereza Veselská5, Gökhan Halıcı 6, Jiří Malíček1, and Ulrik Søchting7   

  1. 1Institute of Botany of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Průhonice CZ‐252 43, Czech Republic
    2Department of Botany, Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, České Budějovice CZ‐370 05, Czech Republic
    3Russian Academy of Sciences, Ural Branch: Institute Botanic Garden, Vosmogo Marta 202a st., Yekaterinburg 620144, Russia
    4Botanical Museum, Lund University, Lund SE‐221 00, Sweden
    5Institute of Microbiology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Praha 4‐Krč CZ‐142 20, Czech Republic
    6Gökhan Halıcı, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Erciyes University, Kayseri 38039, Turkey
    7Department of Biology, Section for Ecology and Evolution, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen DK‐2100, Denmark
  • Received:2019-01-09 Accepted:2019-04-11 Online:2019-04-29 Published:2020-05-01


Blastenia is a widely distributed lichen genus in Teloschistaceae. We reconstructed its phylogeny in order to test species delimitation and to find evolutionary drivers forming recent Blastenia diversity. The origin of Blastenia is dated to the early Tertiary period, but later diversification events are distinctly younger. We recognized 24 species (plus 2 subspecies) within 6 infrageneric groups. Each species strongly prefers a single type of substrate (17 species occur on organic substrates, 7 on siliceous rock), and most infrageneric groups also show a clear substrate preference. All infrageneric groups tend to have the Mediterranean and Macaronesian distribution, but some epiphytic species have much larger geographic ranges and some evolved after a long‐distance dispersal outside the region. Chlorinated and nonchlorinated anthraquinone chemosyndromes co‐occur in apothecia of most species, but the chemotype has been secondarily reduced in some lineages. One infrageneric group has a marked reduction in apothecial size, associated with a substrate shift to twigs. Only seven species have vegetative diaspores; they also produce apothecia but have smaller ascospores. Genome sizes (22‐35 Mb in Blastenia) are significantly higher in epilithic species. Within‐species genetic variation is low in widely distributed species but high in some epilithic species with small geographical ranges. New taxa are: B. afroalpina, B. anatolica, B. caucasica, B. gennargentuae, B. herbidella subsp. acidophila, B. lauri, B. monticola, B. palmae, B. psychrophila, B. purpurea, B. relicta, B. remota, B. xerothermica, and B. xerothermica subsp. macaronesica. New combinations are: B. festivella and B. subathallina; both names and B. catalinae are lectotypified.

Key words: anthraquinones, genome size, long-distance dispersal, Mediterranean-Macaronesian diversity hot-spot, Teloschistaceae, vegetative diaspores