Pier Luigi Nimis
Apparatus of images: Andrea Moro - Software and databases: Stefano Martellos

The genera Protothelenella and Thelenella in the Ostropales, first monographed by Mayrhofer (1987a,b), are superficially similar in the perithecioid ascomata with thread-like, branched and anastomosing paraphysoids and the transversely septate to muriform ascospores, but belong to two different families, mainly differing in ascus structure.
Thelenella Nyl., with c. 33 species, is characterized by bitunicate asci with a non-amyloid tholus, and is currently placed in the Thelenellaceae. Chromatochlamys Trevis. was subsumed formally in Thelenella by Fryday & Coppins (2004); the close relationship between the two genera was confirmed by the phylogenetic study by Schmitt & al. (2005). Molecular studies by Nelsen & al. (2016) confirmed placement of the family within the Ostropales, and advocated separation of Chromatochlamys and Thelenella; however, pending further study I still follow here Orange & Cannon (2021) in considering Chromatochlamys as a synonym of Thelenella. A worldwide key to the species was published by Morse (2016). A key to W-European species was published by Clauzade & Roux (1985). Protothelenella Räsänen, with c. 12 species worldwide, is characterised by bitunicate asci with an amyloid tholus and is now included in the Protothelenellaceae (see e.g. Schmitt & al. 2005) occupying a basal clade within the Ostropales (Resl et al. 2015). The species of the British Isles were treated by Cannon & Orange (2021).
This key includes all species of Thelenella and Protothelenella known to occur in Italy (Nimis 2016), plus several species which are known from neighbouring countries in the Alps (see Nimis & al. 2018) and whose presence in Italy is possible, for a total of 18 species.


Cannon P. Orange A. 2021. Ostropales: Protothelenellaceae, including the genus Protothelenella. Revisions of British and Irish Lichens 7: 1-4.
Clauzade G., Roux C. 1985. Likenoj de Okcidenta Europo. Ilustrita determinlibro. Bull. Soc. Bot. Centre-Ouest, N. Ser., N. Spec. 7. Royan, 893 pp.
Fryday A.M., Coppins B.J. 2004. A reassessment of the genera Chromatochlamys and Thelenella, and a new species of Strigula from the British Isles. Lichenologist, 36: 89-95.
Mayrhofer H. 1987a. Ergänzende Studien zur Taxonomie der Gattung Protothelenella. Herzogia, 7: 313-342.
Mayrhofer H. 1987b. Monographie der Flechtengattung Thelenella. Bibl. Lichenol., 26: 1-106.
Morse C.A. 2016. Two new species of Thelenella and new reports from the Great Plains of central North America, with a worldwide key to the genus. Opuscula Philolich., 15: 22-36.
Nelsen M.P., Lücking R., Cáceres,M.E.S., Aptroot A., Lumbsch H.T. (2016). Assessing the phylogenetic placement and redundancy of Aspidotheliaceae (Ascomycota), an orphaned family of lichen-forming fungi. Systematics and Biodiversity, 15: 63-73.
Nimis P.L. 2016. The lichens of Italy. A second annotated catalogue. EUT, Trieste, 740 pp.
Nimis P.L., Hafellner J., Roux C., Clerc P., Mayrhofer H., Martellos S., Bilovitz P.O. 2018. The Lichens of the Alps. An Annotated Catalogue. Mycokeys, 31: 1-634.
Orange A., Cannon, P. 2021.. Ostropales: Thelenellaceae, including the genus Thelenella. Revisions of British and Irish Lichens, 8: 1-4.
Resl P., Schneider K., Westberg M., Printzen C., Palice Z., Thor G., Fryday A., Mayrhofer H., Spribille T. 2015. Diagnostics for a troubled backbone: testing topological hypotheses of trapelioid lichenized fungi in a large-scale phylogeny of Ostropomycetidae (Lecanoromycetes). Fungal Diversity, 73: 239-258.
Schmitt I., Mueller G., Lumbsch H.T. 2005. Ascoma morphology is homoplaseous and phylogenetically misleading in some pyrenocarpous lichens. Mycologia, 97, 2. 362-374.

Last modified: August, 15, 2021

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