Members of the Asterinaceae and Parmulariaceae are obligate biotrophic fungi with a pantropical distribution that grow in direct association with living plant tissues and produce external ascomata and bitunicate asci. These fungi are poorly known, with limited information about their taxonomic position in the Dothideomycetes. Much of what is known is conjectural and based on observation of morphological characters. An assessment of the phylogenetic position of the Asterinaceae and Parmulariaceae is provided based on a phylogenetic analysis of the nrDNA operon (ITS) and the large subunit rDNA (LSU) sequence data obtained from fresh material of selected species collected in Brazil. Three key species were included and epitypified, namely Asterina melastomatis, which is the type species for the type genus of the Asterinaceae; Prillieuxina baccharidincola (Asterinaceae); and Parmularia styracis, which is the type species for the type genus of the Parmulariaceae. An LSU rDNA phylogenetic analysis was performed indicating the correct phylogenetic placement of the Asterinales within the Dothideomycetes. From this initial analysis it is clear that the Parmulariaceae as currently circumscribed is polyphyletic, and that the Asterinaceae and Parmulariaceae are related, which justifies the maintenance of the order Asterinales. Asterotexis cucurbitacearum is recognised as distinct from other Dothideomycetes and placed in the newly proposed family and order (Asterotexiaceae, Asterotexiales), while the higher order phylogeny of Inocyclus angularis remains unresolved. Additionally, Lembosia abaxialis is introduced as a novel species and the phylogenetic placement of the genera Batistinula and Prillieuxina is clarified.

Asterinales, epitype, Neotropical fungi, taxonomic novelties, type species
Persoonia - Molecular Phylogeny and Evolution of Fungi

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Naturalis journals & series

Guatimosim, E, Firmino, A.L, Bezerra, J.L, Pereira, O.L, Barreto, R.W, & Crous, P.W. (2015). Towards a phylogenetic reappraisal of Parmulariaceae and Asterinaceae (Dothideomycetes). Persoonia - Molecular Phylogeny and Evolution of Fungi, 35, 230–241.