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Darwiniana, nueva serie

versión impresa ISSN 0011-6793

Darwiniana vol.50 no.1 San Isidro jun. 2012



Cannonia australis (Ascomycota, Xylariaceae) found in equatorial Brazil


Larissa Trierveiler-Pereira1, Leandro A. N. N. Agra2, Mariana Capdet3 & Andrea I. Romero3

1Programa de Pós-Graduação em Botânica, Departamento de Botânica, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Av. Bento Gonçalves 9500, Campus do Vale, CEP 91501970 Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil; (author for correspondence)
2Departamento de Botânica, Centro de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Av. Moraes Rego s/n, Cidade Universitária, CEP 50670901 Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil.
3Programa de hongos que intervienen en la degradación biológica (PRHIDEB-CONICET), Departamento de Biodiversidad y Biología Experimental, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Ciudad Universitaria, Pabellón II, 4o. Piso, C1428EHA Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Cannonia is a xylarioid genus originally described from the southern hemisphere (Argentina and Australia) growing on dead parts of palms. To date, the genus is considered monospecific and the only species recognized is C. australis. During collection trips in the State of Maranhão, Brazil, specimens of C. australis were gathered on the inflorescence rachis and floral pedicels of a Syagrus species (Arecaceae). Description and line drawings are provided, this being the first record from Brazil.

Keywords. Ascomycetes; Brazilian fungi; Neotropical mycobiota; Xylariales; xylophilous fungi; palm fungi.


Cannonia es un género xilariáceo originalmente descrito para el hemisferio sur (Argentina y Australia) que crece sobre partes muertas de palmeras. Actualmente, el género es considerado monoespecífico y la única especie reconocida es C. australis. Durante viajes de exploraciones micológicas en el estado de Maranhão, Brasil, se coleccionaron especímenes de C. australis sobre el raquis de la inflorescencia y los pedicelos florales de una especie de Syagrus (Arecaceae). Se describe e ilustra esta especie registrada por primera vez para Brasil.

Palabras clave. Ascomicetes; hongos brasileños; hongos xilófilos; micobiota neotropical; Xylariales.



Xylariaceae Tul. & C. Tul. is a large family of Ascomycetes that currently includes 85 genera and more than 1,300 species (Kirk et al., 2008). Brazilian studies concerning the family are basically related to classical taxonomy (i.e. based on morphological characters) and articles published by Brazilian researchers in the last decade are very scant (Pereira et al., 2008a, b, 2009, 2010; Trierveiler-Pereira et al., 2009).
The species within the family are separated in two lineages: Hypoxyloideae and Xylarioideae, supported by anamorph type, chemotaxonomy and molecular data (Tang et al., 2009). However, the boundaries between genera remain controversial in some cases.
The genus Cannonia Joanne E. Taylor & K.D. Hyde was proposed in the last decade (Taylor & Hyde, 1999) and to date is monospecific. Cannonia differs from other Xylariaceae genera by its ascus features: broad cylindrical to clavate, 8spored, with very short pedicel, inamyloid, lacking apical apparatus, and the ascus can be evanescent. Asci were absent in the holotype material, collected by Spegazzini in Argentina, originally identified as Ceratostoma australe Speg. Cannonia australis specimens are so far found only on palms.
The present work aims to contribute to the knowledge of Xylariaceae in Brazil and reports the occurrence of Cannonia australis for the first time near the equator.


The examined material was collected during field trips in the State Park of Bacanga (between 2º32'30" and 2º37'30" S, 44º15'00" and 44º18'44" W), located in the midwest area of the Island of São Luís, State of Maranhão, Brazil (Fig. 1). This park was created in 1980 and its area is nearly 3,000 hectares (Ribeiro et al., 2005) and part of "Floresta Protetora dos Mananciais da Ilha de São Luís". In this area typical plants of the Amazon and Atlantic Rain Forest biomes occur (Muniz et al., 1994). The climate is tropical hothumid, with predominance of rainfall between January and April (Araújo et al. 2005; Figueredo et al. 2009) and the peak of rainfall in the last mentioned month is 500 mm.

Fig. 1. Geographic location of specimens of Cannonia australis in State of Maranhão, Brazil.

All measurements of microscopic structures were made in mounts of 3% KOH, which were examined with a phase contrast microscope. Drawings were made with a camera lucida. The voucher material is deposited at ICN Herbarium (Thiers, 2012).


Cannonia australis (Speg.) Joanne E. Taylor & K.D. Hyde, Mycol. Res. 103:1398 (1999). TYPE: Argentina, Parque de Palermo, 15-V1881, C. Spegazzini 7045 (holotype LPS!). Fig. 2A-C.

Fig. 2. Cannonia australis. A, perithecia immersed in the substratum. B, general aspect of perithecia when removed from the substratum (arrows indicate setae = cirri). C, ascospores. From Agra s.n. (ICN).

Stromata present, poorly developed, forming black granules amongst some perithecia, but most perithecia are naked; stromatal surface carbonaceous, blackish, dull; without extractable pigments in 10% or 3% KOH, subperithecial tissue absent. Perithecia globose to subglobose, blackish, 0.4-0.9 mm diam., embedded in the host tissue, with a long, cylindrical, slender neck; neck erumpent from the substratum surface, 1.2-1.6 mm; brownish masses of spores (cirri) are frequently observed above the necks. Asci evanescent, not observed. Ascospores short ellipsoidal, fusoid, laterally compressed, golden yellow brown, 7.0-10.0 µm, germ slit indistinct.

Observations. Characteristic features of C. australis are: palm as host species; blackish, globose perithecia (immersed in the substratum) with long neck; ascospores ellipsoidal, golden yellow brown. Asci can be evanescent - they were not observed in the holotype material, and were absent in the Brazilian specimen; however they were observed and illustrated by Capdet & Romero (2010). According to Taylor & Hyde (1999) the germ slit is straight and running full-length of ascospore, but it was inconspicuous in the examined material.
Brazilian material of C. australis was collected on the inflorescence rachis and floral pedicels of Syagrus Mart. (Arecaceae), possibly S. oleraceae (Mart.) Becc. In Argentina (Iguazú National Park, near the Brazilian border), Cannonia australis was also collected on a Syagrus species, S. romanzoffiana (Cham.) Glassman (Capdet & Romero, 2010). Additionally, the species is known to occur on Butia yatay (Mart.) Becc. in Argentina, and Trachycarpus fortunei (W.J. Hooker) H.A. Wendland in Australia (Taylor & Hyde, 1999). However, T. fortunei is a palm native from China and Burma (Myanmar) and it was cultivated in a botanical garden in Australia.
The presence of C. australis in Brazil is the first report of the species at low latitude (2º11' S). In Argentina, this species is frequently found further south in a temperate region (31º50' S, 58º17' W; Parque Nacional El Palmar, Entre Ríos province) on B. yatay where it seems to be very well established. On B. yatay, C. australis covers quite large patches on the spathe and the inflorescence rachis and floral pedicels, but it is also present in the sheaths, petioles, foliar rachis, leaflets and parts of the inflorescence, at any time of year. Its presence on spathes of S. romanzoffiana (Misiones province, subtropical region 25º41' S, 54º18' W) is on more limited areas than on B. yatay spathes (Capdet & Romero 2010).
As it was suggested by Stone et al. (1996) for other ascomycetes, C. australis sporulates in abundance on parts that have been fallen for less than a year, and thus it must be suspected that C. australis may colonize living tissues. There are records of other xylariaceous endophytes from palms (Taylor et al., 1999; Fröhlich et al., 2000), so it is possible that C. australis is an endophyte. However, there is not enough information to ascertain that. Nevertheless, the association of C. australis with palms is consistent.
Butia and Syagrus belong to subfamily Ceroxyloideae, tribe Cocoeae, and have not been the subject of any modern biogeographical analysis. These two genera are endemic from South America with Gondwanan origin, and dated phylogenies of Cocoeae (Gunn, 2004) and the Ceroxyloideae (Trénel et al., 2007) indicate Eocene trans-oceanic dispersal between America and Africa.

Examined material

BRAZIL. Maranhão. São Luís, Parque Esta dual do Bacanga, on Syagrus sp., 30-IX-2009, Agra s.n. (ICN 168396).


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