Collection and examination of decaying wood samples of Avicennia marina (Forssk.) Vierh. from Pondicherry mangroves, India, resulted in the discovery of a novel monotypic genus Vittaliana, based on the type species V. mangrovei, which shares close morphological affinities with Italica Wanas., Camporesi & K.D.Hyde and Phaeosphaeriopsis M.P.S. Câmara, M.E. Palm & A.W. Ramaley. The concatenated LSU, SSU, TEF1α and ITS multigene phylogenetic analyses revealed that the new genus clustered together with Italica as a sister clade but forms a separate branch. In addition, morphological variations in Vittaliana mangrovei Devadatha, Nikita, A.Baghela & V.V.Sarma, gen. nov., sp. nov., such as semi-immersed, globose to subglobose ascomata, 5-6 distoseptate, phragmosporous, yellow to golden-yellow ascospores lacking a mucilaginous sheath and any type of ornamentation, and which are strongly constricted at the 4th septum, clearly delineate the new genus from the other genera in Phaeosphaeriaceae. Furthermore, Vittaliana Devadatha, Nikita, A.Baghela & V.V.Sarma, gen. nov., is saprobic and occurs in marine environment. Morphological characteristics and phylogenetic relation of our new species are discussed by comparing with closely related genera in Phaeosphaeriaceae.
Pleosporales, Phaeosphaeriaceae, mangroves, marine fungi, new genus, new species