Systematics and evolution of the genus Torrubiella (Hypocreales, Ascomycota)

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Mycological Research, Volume 113, Issue 3, p.279 - 289 (2009)





Torrubiella is a genus of arthropod-pathogenic fungi that primarily attacks spiders and scale insects. Based on the morphology of the perithecia, asci, and ascospores, it is classified in Clavicipitaceae s. lat. (Hypocreales), and is considered a close relative of Cordyceps s. 1., which was recently reclassified into three families (Clavicipitaceae s. str., Cordycipitaceae, Ophiocordycipitaceae) and four genera (Cordyceps s. str, Elaphocordyceps, Metacordyceps, and Ophiocordyceps). Torrubiella is distinguished morphologically from Cordyceps s. lat. mainly by the production of superficial perithecia and the absence of a well-developed stipitate stroma. To test and refine evolutionary hypotheses regarding the placement of Torrubiella and its relationship to Cordyceps s. lat., a multi-gene phylogeny was constructed by conducting ML and Bayesian analyses. The monophyly of Torrubiella was rejected by these analyses with species of the genus present in Clavicipitaceae, Cordycipitaceae, and Ophiocordycipitaceae, and often intermixed among species of Cordyceps s. lat. The morphological characters traditionally used to define the genus are, therefore, not phylogenetically informative, with the stipitate stromata being gained and/or lost several times among clavicipitaceous fungi. Two new genera (Conoideocrella, Orbiocrella) are proposed to accommodate two separate lineages of torrubielloid fungi in the Clavicipitaceae s. str. In addition, one species is reclassified in Cordyceps s. str. and three are reclassified in Ophiocordyceps. The phylogenetic importance of anamorphic genera, host affiliation, and stipitate stromata is discussed.
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