KEYS TO THE LICHENS OF ITALY - 03) SARCOGYNE (incl. species formerly assigned to Polysporina)
Pier Luigi Nimis
Apparatus of images: Andrea Moro - Software and databases: Stefano Martellos

Sarcogyne is a genus of the Acarosporaceae which includes c. 28 species growing on calcareous and siliceous rocks, less commonly on soil, and has the highest diversity in temperate and semi-arid regions (especially in Europe, North Africa and North America), similar to the related genus Polysporina, with c. 10 species, which also includes a few parasitic taxa. While variability in some of the most common species of Sarcogyne has prompted the description of numerous infraspecific taxa, several taxa may have been inadequately collected and documented, and remain poorly understood. The molecular study of Acarosporaceae by Westberg & al. (2015) showed that the occurrence of strongly black pigmented (carbonised or melanised) ascomata has arisen secondarily and independently numerous times in the evolution of this group and that the Acarosporaceae as currently circumscribed fall into two major clades, centred on Acarospora s. str. and Sarcogyne, with species such as A. badiofusca, A. macrocarpa and A. glaucocarpa recovered in the Sarcogyne-clade (Westberg & al. 2015, Knudsen & al. 2020). Species previously assigned to Polysporina are found within both clades, and redistributed accordingly. Further study is required also on the delimitation of the species. The present key includes only the 15 infraspecific taxa hitherto reported from Italy; however, since several other taxa are known from adjacent areas, I suggest to also use the more comprehensive key by Roux & al. (2019). Relevant information on Sarcogyne-species, with a key to European taxa, is also provided by Knudsen & Kocourková (2018) and Knudsen & al. (2021).


Knudsen K., Kocourková J. 2018 – Sarcogyne praetermissa (Acarosporaceae), a new calcicolous lichen species from Europe, with a key to the European Sarcogyne species. Herzogia, 31, 1: 133-139.
Knudsen K., Kocourková J., Cannon P., Coppins B., Flechter A., Simkin J. 2021. Revisions of British and Irish Lichens.12. Acarosporaceae. British Lichen Society, ISSN 2634-7768, 25 pp.
Roux C., Poumarat S., Gueidan C., Navarro–Rosines P., Monnat J.-Y., Houmeau J.M. 2019. La Acarosporaceae de Okcidenta Eŭropo. Bull. Soc. linn. Provence, 70: 107-167.
Westberg M., Crewe A.T., Purvis O.W., Wedin M. 2011. Silobia, a new genus for the Acarospora smaragdula-complex (Ascomycota, Acarosporales) and a revision of the group in Sweden. Lichenologist, 43, 1: 7-25.

Last modified: March, 31, 2021

Project Dryades, Department of Life Sciences, University of Trieste - CC BY-SA 4.0