Sordariales

Cultures of Diplogelasinospora princeps, from TSTO.

Belongs within: Sordariomycetidae.
Contains: Chaetomiaceae, Sordariaceae, Podosporaceae, Lasiosphaeriaceae, Schizotheciaceae.

The Sordariales: in the soil and under the skin
Published 22 December 2021

Microfungi are a very important factor in our lives. They play a key role in assuring that we are not literally up to our armpits in shit. Their hungry little hyphae break down ordure, cleaning up the planet and unlocking nutrients that will then be made available to other organisms. And among the most significant lineages of these largely unseen decomposers are the members of the order Sordariales.

Lab culture of Sordaria fimicola, copyright BlueRidgeKitties.

Members of the Sordariales are, without exception, minute. Many species are coprophilous, growing on dung. Others may be found on rotting wood, or other decaying plant matter or soil. Fruiting bodies, when they appear, are flask-shaped perithecia protruding to a greater or lesser degree from the surface of their substrate. The walls of the perithecia are made up of large cells and have a membranous or coriaceous (leathery) texture. Within the fruiting body, the asci are single-walled and contain one- or two-celled ascospores that are often surrounded by a gelatinous sheath or bear various appendages. If the ascospores are two-celled, the cells are typically differentiated into an apical head and a basal tail (Kruys et al. 2015; Marin-Felix et al. 2020). Genera of Sordariales have historically been recognised on the basis of ascospore morphology but the advent of molecular data has indicated that such genera are highly polyphyletic. As a result, the Sordariales have seen (and are still seeing) a great deal of taxonomic reassessment. Miller & Huhndorf (2005) suggested that the structure of the fruiting body walls are more consistent with molecular phylogenies than ascospore morphology.

Cake of oncom-fermented beans, copyright Hariadhi.

Apart from their significant role as decomposers, most Sordariales have little direct impact on human economics. The mould Neurospora intermedia is used to make oncom, a fermented food similar to tempeh. A number of species of Sordariales such as Neurospora crassa and Sordaria fimicola have been widely used in genetic research, to the extent that they have been labelled the ‘fruit flies of the fungal world’. Seriously, it’s one of those expressions almost every publication seems obliged to crow-bar in somewhere. The analogy is made even more apropos by the fact that one of the most widely used species, Triangularia née Podospora anserina, has been made the subject of debate whether taxonomic considerations should be allowed to shake up the name of a popular model organism.

Molecular studies have also shown that the Sordariales encompass Madurella mycetomatis, a fungus causing subcutaneous inflammation in humans (van de Sande 2012). Seeing as sexual fruiting bodies are unknown in this species, and even asexual spore-producing structures are exceedingly rare, this organism would have previously been all but impossible to classify. Infection by M. mycetomatis is characterised by the production of granular swellings. It is most significant in central Africa but is also known from other tropical regions of the world. Madurella mycetomatis infects people via trauma such as animal bites and other wounds, and it has been isolated from soil and ant nests. In its normal state, M. mycetomatis is probably a quite innocent soil fungus. The trouble comes when it finds itself somewhere it shouldn’t be.

Systematics of Sordariales
<==Sordariales [Chaetomiales]
|--Naviculisporaceae [Tripterosporaceae]M-FM20
| |--+--+--‘Arnium’ mendaxM-FM20
| | | `--Areotheca Marín & Stchigel in Marin-Felix, Miller et al. 2020M-FM20
| | | |--*A. ambigua (Sacc.) Marín & Stchigel in Marin-Felix, Miller et al. 2020 (see below for synonymy)M-FM20
| | | `--A. areolata (Lundq.) Marín, Mill. & Stchigel in Marin-Felix, Miller et al. 2020 (see below for synonymy)M-FM20
| | `--+--Naviculispora Stchigel, Marín et al. in Marin-Felix, Miller et al. 2020M-FM20
| | | `--*N. terrestris Stchigel, Marín et al. in Marin-Felix, Miller et al. 2020M-FM20
| | `--Arnium Nitschke ex Winter 1873M-FM20, KC01 (see below for synonymy)
| | |--*A. lanuginosumM-FM20
| | |--A. caballinumM-FM20
| | `--A. japonenseM-FM20
| `--+--Rhypophila Marín, Mill. & Guarro in Marin-Felix, Miller et al. 2020 (see below for synonymy)M-FM20
| | |--+--*R. myriospora (Crouan & Crouan) Marín, Mill. & Guarro in Marin-Felix, Miller et al. 2020 (see below for synonymy)M-FM20
| | | `--R. cochleariformis (Cailleux) Marín, Mill. & Guarro in Marin-Felix, Miller et al. 2020 (see below for synonymy)M-FM20
| | `--+--R. decipiens (Winter ex Fuckel) Marín, Mill. & Guarro in Marin-Felix, Miller et al. 2020 (see below for synonymy)M-FM20
| | `--R. pleiospora (Winter) Marín, Mill. & Guarro in Marin-Felix, Miller et al. 2020 (see below for synonymy)M-FM20
| `--+--+--‘Zopfiella’ marinaM-FM20
| | `--‘Zopfiella’ submersaM-FM20
| `--+--‘Zopfiella’ piliferaM-FM20
| `--‘Triangularia’ mangenotiiM-FM20
`--+--+--Diplogelasinospora Cain 1961KC01 [DiplogelasinosporaceaeM-FM20]
| | |--+--D. grovesiiM-FM20
| | | `--D. princepsM-FM20
| | `--+--D. inaequalisM-FM20
| | `--D. moalensisM-FM20
| `--ChaetomiaceaeM-FM20
`--+--+--SordariaceaeM-FM20
| `--PodosporaceaeM-FM20
`--+--LasiosphaeriaceaeM-FM20
`--+--+--Zygospermella Cain 1935M-FM20, KC01 [=Zygospermum Cain 1934 non Thwaites ex Baill. 1858KC01]
| | `--Z. insignisM-FM20
| `--Lasiosphaeris Clem. 1909M-FM20, KC01
| |--L. hirsutaM-FM20
| `--L. hispidaM-FM20
`--SchizotheciaceaeM-FM20

Sordariales incertae sedis:
Batistia Cif. 1958KC01 [incl. Acrostroma Seifert 1987KC01; BatistiaceaeEB03]
Acanthotheciella Höhn. 1911 (see below for synonymy)KC01
Bombardiella Höhn. 1909KC01
Globosphaeria Hawksw. 1990KC01
Isia Hawksw. & Manohar. 1978KC01
Lockerbia Hyde 1994KC01
Melanocarpus Arx 1975KC01
`--‘Myriococcum’ albomycesKC01
Monosporascus Pollack & Uecker 1974 [incl. Bitrimonospora Sivan., Talde & Tilak 1974]KC01
Nitschkiopsis Nannf. & Sant. 1975EB03, KC01
OnygenopsisEB03
Phaeosporis Clem. 1909KC01
Reconditella Matzer & Hafellner 1990KC01
Roselliniella Vain. 1921KC01
Roselliniomyces Matzer & Hafellner 1990KC01
Roselliniopsis Matzer & Hafellner 1990KC01
Hydronectria Kirschst. 1925 [Hydronectriaceae]RS99
`--*H. kriegeriana Kirschst. 1925RS99
Garethjonesia Hyde 1992KC01
Guanomyces González, Hanlin & Ulloa 2000KC01
Wallrothiella Sacc. 1882 [incl. Pseudogliomastix Gams 1985]KC01
Madurella Brumpt 1905S12, KC01 [incl. Indiella Brumpt 1906KC01, Rubromadurella Talice 1935KC01]
|--*M. mycetomatisS12
|--M. fahaliiS12
|--M. griseaS12
|--M. pseudomycetomatisS12
`--M. tropicanaS12

Acanthotheciella Höhn. 1911 [=Acanthotheca Clem. & Shear 1931 non DC. 1838, Acanthothecium Speg. 1889, Psalidosperma Syd. & Syd. 1914, Ypsilonia Lév. 1846]KC01

*Areotheca ambigua (Sacc.) Marín & Stchigel in Marin-Felix, Miller et al. 2020 [=Lasiosphaeria hispida ssp. ambigua Sacc. 1877, Bombardia ambigua (Sacc.) Winter 1885, Cercophora ambigua (Sacc.) Hilber in Hilber & Hilber 1979, Lasiosordaria ambigua (Sacc.) Chenant. 1919, Lasiosphaeria ambigua (Sacc.) Sacc. 1883]M-FM20

Areotheca areolata (Lundq.) Marín, Mill. & Stchigel in Marin-Felix, Miller et al. 2020 [=Cercophora areolata Lundq. 1972]M-FM20

Arnium Nitschke ex Winter 1873M-FM20, KC01 [incl. Nothopodospora Mirza 1963 (nom. inv.)KC01, Pleurosordaria Fernier 1954KC01]

Rhypophila Marín, Mill. & Guarro in Marin-Felix, Miller et al. 2020 [=Podospora sect. Rhypophila Lundqvist 1972]M-FM20

Rhypophila cochleariformis (Cailleux) Marín, Mill. & Guarro in Marin-Felix, Miller et al. 2020 [=Podospora cochleariformis Cailleux 1969]M-FM20

Rhypophila decipiens (Winter ex Fuckel) Marín, Mill. & Guarro in Marin-Felix, Miller et al. 2020 [=Sordaria decipiens Winter 1873, Podospora decipiens (Winter ex Fuckel) Niessl 1883]M-FM20

*Rhypophila myriospora (Crouan & Crouan) Marín, Mill. & Guarro in Marin-Felix, Miller et al. 2020 [=Sordaria myriospora Crouan & Crouan 1867, Podospora myriospora (Crouan & Crouan) Niessl 1883]M-FM20

Rhypophila pleiospora (Winter) Marín, Mill. & Guarro in Marin-Felix, Miller et al. 2020 [=Sordaria pleiospora Winter 1873, Podospora pleiospora (Winter) Niessl 1883]M-FM20

*Type species of generic name indicated

References

[EB03] Eriksson, O. E., H. O. Barah, R. S. Currah, K. Hansen, C. P. Kurtzman, G. Rambold & T. Laessøe (eds.) 2003. Outline of Ascomycota—2003. Myconet 9: 1–89.

[KC01] Kirk, P. M., P. F. Cannon, J. C. David & J. A. Stalpers. 2001. Ainsworth & Bisby’s Dictionary of the Fungi 9th ed. CAB International: Wallingford (UK).

Kruys, Å., S. M. Huhndorf & A. N. Miller. 2015. Coprophilous contributions to the phylogeny of Lasiosphaeriaceae and allied taxa within Sordariales (Ascomycota, Fungi). Fungal Diversity 70: 101–113.

[M-FM20] Marin-Felix, Y., A. N. Miller, J. F. Cano-Lira, J. Guarro, D. García, M. Stadler, S. M. Huhndorf & A. M. Stchigel. 2020. Re-evaluation of the order Sordariales: delimitation of Lasiosphaeriaceae s. str., and introduction of the new families Diplogelasinosporaceae, Naviculisporaceae, and Schizotheciaceae. Microorganisms 8: 1430.

Miller, A. N., & S. M. Huhndorf. 2005. Multi-gene phylogenies indicate ascomal wall morphology is a better predictor of phylogenetic relationships than ascospore morphology in the Sordariales (Ascomycota, Fungi). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 35: 60–75.

[RS99] Rossman, A. Y., G. J. Samuels, C. T. Rogerson & R. Lowen. 1999. Genera of Bionectriaceae, Hypocreaceae and Nectriaceae (Hypocreales, Ascomycetes). Studies in Mycology 42: 1–248.

[S12] Sande, W. W. J. van de. 2012. Phylogenetic analysis of the complete mitochondrial genome of Madurella mycetomatis confirms its taxonomic position within the order Sordariales. PLoS One 7 (6): e38654.

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