Coccomyces dentatus

Coccomyces dentatus

''Coccomyces dentatus'' is a species of fungus in the family Rhytismataceae. A widespread species, particularly in temperate areas, it colonizes the dead fallen leaves of vascular plants, particularly oak and chestnut. The fungus apothecia, which form in the epidermal layer of the leaf host, resemble dark hexagonal spots scattered on a multi-colored mosaic pattern bounded by thin black lines. When mature, the apothecia open by triangular flaps to release spores. The anamorph form of ''C. dentatus'' is ''Tricladiopsis flagelliformis''. Lookalike species can be distinguished by the shape of the apothecia, or by microscopic characteristics.
Marvel of nature 2 Another amazing dried leaf, I think this one looks more like eggshell Coccomyces dentatus,Fall,Geotagged,South Africa,leaves,nature,trees

Appearance

The apothecia of ''Coccomyces dentatus'' are distributed in bleached spots that are bounded by a black lines inside the outer cell layer of the leaf . The black lines—often referred to as ''zone lines''—are the result of an antagonistic interactions between individuals of different genotypes that colonize the leaf surface. Apothecia are usually accompanied by pycnidia measuring 0.5–1.0 mm in diameter. The apothecia are black, and shiny, with four to six sides. They have a star-shaped pattern of grooves formed by lighter colored cells. When the spores are mature, these open by triangular "teeth" to expose the dull yellow hymenium .

The layer covering the apothecia is about 30 μm thick, and made of blackened cells measuring 5–6 μm in diameter. At the base of the apothecia is carbonized supportive tissue about 5 μm thick. The paraphyses are unbranched, threadlike , gradually enlarge to a width of 2.0 μm at the tip, and have granular contents. The thin-walled cylindrical to club-shaped asci are on a short stalk, and measure 70–105 by 8–10 μm; each ascus contains eight ascospores. Ascospores, which measure 45–65 by 3.0 μm, have a thin but distinct sheath, and lack septa . Pycnidia are intraepidermal, lenticular in cross section, 0.1–0.3 mm in diameter, and covered with a dark brown layer of cells. The phialides are arranged in a basal layer, and borne on short conidiophores. They are slender and subulate , lack a collarette, and measure 5–10 by 2–2.5 μm. The conidia are colorless, rod-shaped, lack septa, and have dimensions of 4–5 by 1.0 μm.

The putative anamorph form of ''C. dentatus'' has been described as ''Tricladiopsis flagelliformis''. Grown on 2% malt agar at standard conditions, it forms black-centered colonies that have a growth rate of 7 cm per week. The conidia produced are thin and curved with a whip-like shape. They have 13–20 septa, measure 65–135 by 2–3.5 μm, and usually have a single branch that appears before cells are released.

There are only a few species of Rhytismatales known to have anamorphs that do not function as spermatia . ''Coccomyces dentatus'' is one of only two species that are known to have both a spermatial and a non-spermatial state .

Naming

The species is frequently confused with ''Coccomyces coronatus'', which has inflated paraphyses, longer asci and ascospores, less regularly shaped apothecia, and rarely occurs on leaves of evergreens. It prefers to grow on well-rotted leaves, and is found predominantly in northern Europe and eastern North America. ''C. tumidus'' is somewhat similar in appearance, but distinguished in the field by round to ellipsoid apothecia. ''C. australis'' has circinate rather than filiform paraphyses, larger asci and somewhat larger ascospores . Another lookalike species that is morphological quite similar to ''C. dentatus'' is ''C. kinabaluensis'', found in the Malaysian state of Sabah. However, the latter can be distinguished by the following characters: three- to four-sided ascocarps; ascospores with a single septum; and longer, wider asci measuring 110–135 by 10–14 μm.

Distribution

''Coccomyces dentatus'' is a saprobic species, and grows on dead leaves of a wide variety of angiosperms. It is frequently encountered on members of the heather , and the beech family , such as oak and chestnut, and also on the exotic ''Castanea sativa'' from Chile. Other common substrates include leaves of trees in the genera ''Rhododendron'', ''Lithocarpus'', ''Berberis'', ''Arbutus'', ''Gaultheria'', and ''Myrica''.

Widely distributed and common, the fungus occurs predominantly in warm temperate areas. It has been found in Africa , Europe, and the Americas. In the northern part of its range, it occurs in the summer and autumn, but in subtropical areas it can be found year-round. Because of its wide geographical distribution, abundance, and conspicuousness, ''Coccomyces dentatus'' is the most often collected species of ''Coccomyces''.

Habitat

''Coccomyces dentatus'' is a saprobic species, and grows on dead leaves of a wide variety of angiosperms. It is frequently encountered on members of the heather , and the beech family , such as oak and chestnut, and also on the exotic ''Castanea sativa'' from Chile. Other common substrates include leaves of trees in the genera ''Rhododendron'', ''Lithocarpus'', ''Berberis'', ''Arbutus'', ''Gaultheria'', and ''Myrica''.

Widely distributed and common, the fungus occurs predominantly in warm temperate areas. It has been found in Africa , Europe, and the Americas. In the northern part of its range, it occurs in the summer and autumn, but in subtropical areas it can be found year-round. Because of its wide geographical distribution, abundance, and conspicuousness, ''Coccomyces dentatus'' is the most often collected species of ''Coccomyces''.

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Taxonomy
KingdomFungi
DivisionAscomycota
ClassLeotiomycetes
OrderRhytismatales
FamilyRhytismataceae
GenusCoccomyces
SpeciesC. dentatus
Photographed in
South Africa