In: Sydowia 73, (2021): 171-183; ISSN 0082-0598, DOI 10.12905/0380.sydowia73-2020-0171, Published online on December 11, 2020
Distribution and diversity of lichenicolous fungi from western Himalayan Cold Deserts of India, including a new Zwackhiomyces species
Yogesh Joshi1,*, Pradeep Kumar1, Arjun Lal Yadav1, Niranjan Suda1 & Joseph P. Halda2
1 Department of Botany, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur-302 004, Rajasthan, India
2 University of Hradec Králové, Faculty of Science, Rokitanského 62, CZ-500 03 Hradec Králové, Czech Republic
Joshi Y., Kumar P., Yadav A.L., Suda N. & Halda J.P. (2020) Distribution and diversity of lichenicolous fungi from western
Himalayan Cold Deserts of India, including a new Zwackhiomyces species. – Sydowia 73: 171–183.
The bare rock surfaces in cold deserts provide the most extreme environmental conditions for life on Earth where specialists
with particular adaptations, such as bacteria, black yeasts, fungi, mosses, lichens and microalgae can colonize. Lichens growing
in these harsh conditions also use to house symptomatic and asymptomatic fungi, which are generally termed as lichenicolous
and endolichenic fungi, respectively. In the present study lichenicolous fungi associated with lichens of cold deserts of India (Leh-
Ladakh and Lahaul Spiti) were investigated using lichen specimens obtained from CSIR-National Botanical Research Institute
including herbaria of LWG, LWU and private herbaria of Dr. D.D. Awasthi (AWAS). The new species Zwackhiomyces lecideae,
lichenicolous on Lecidea, is described in detail, and a list of 36 species (including one lichenicolous lichen, Sarcogyne sphaerospora,
and one black meristematic fungus, Lichenothelia convexa, that is also a facultative lichenicolous fungus) belonging to 11
families (excluding genera of uncertain taxonomic positions) infecting 39 species of lichen hosts in the study site is presented.
The discovery of a new species of Zwackhiomyces raises the tally of its members to 36 across the world and eight from India.
Keywords: alpine, astrobiology, diversity, Mars, lichens, lichensphere, secondary fungi, taxonomy.