Taxonomic notes on eight species of obligate mycoparasites in the genus Syncephalis isolated from soil and dung

Mycologia. 2020 May-Jun;112(3):552-569. doi: 10.1080/00275514.2019.1705126. Epub 2020 Mar 12.


Species of Syncephalis (Zoopagomycotina, Piptocephalidaceae) are obligate mycoparasites that grow on common saprobic species of Mortierellomycotina and Mucoromycotina in soil and dung. Despite their ubiquitous occurrence across the globe, fungi in the genus Syncephalis are understudied, and there are few modern taxonomic treatments of these fungi. In order to clarify species concepts in the genus, we provide morphological data and discuss seven classical Syncephalis species: S. basibulbosa, S. cordata, S. depressa, S. hypogena, S. intermedia, S. nodosa, and S. sphaerica. Three of these species are only known as herbarium specimens (S. basibulbosa, S. cordata, S. intermedia). We have isolated co-cultures of the remaining parasites (S. depressa, S. nodosa, and S. sphaerica) on their host fungi both from nature and from culture collections. The remaining taxon (S. hypogena) was revived from a lyophilized culture. We provide photos and updated descriptions for all of these species as well as new geographic data and references to documented herbarium specimens for each taxon. In addition, we also describe the new species S. latigena.

Keywords: 1 new taxon; Mycoparasite; Piptocephalidaceae; Zoopagales; Zoopagomycota.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Absidia / pathogenicity*
  • Animals
  • Feces / microbiology*
  • Fungi / classification*
  • Fungi / cytology*
  • Fungi / pathogenicity*
  • Parasites / classification*
  • Parasites / cytology*
  • Soil Microbiology*