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Additions to the genus Lecanopteris!!!

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Open AccessExpansion of the fern genus Lecanopteris to encompass some species previously included in Microsorum and Colysis (Polypodiaceae)

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The fern genus Microsorum is not monophyletic, with previous phylogenetic analyses finding three lineages to group not with the type species, but to form a grade related to the 13 species of Lecanopteris. These three lineages have recently been recognised as separate genera: Bosmania, Dendroconche, and Zealandia. Here, we explore the morphological characterisation of Lecanopteris and these other three lecanopteroid genera. While the traditional circumscription of Lecanopteris has seemed sacrosanct, its defining morphological character states of rhizome cavities and ant brooding associations occur in other lecanopteroid ferns and elsewhere in the Polypodiaceae. Instead, we suggest that the morphological characterisation of an expanded Lecanopteris including the Dendroconche and Zealandia lineages is just as good, if not better, with the pertinent character states being the absence of sclerenchyma strands in the rhizome and at least some fronds having Nooteboom’s type 5 venation pattern. This wider circumscription is also better able to accommodate phylogenetic uncertainty, and it means that groups of species traditionally placed together in a single genus are not distributed across different genera. General users familiar with the narrower circumscription of Lecanopteris will not be significantly disrupted, because there is little geographic overlap with the lineages added to the genus. Consequently, we make new combinations in Lecanopteris for 11 species and one subspecies.

Keywords: Bosmania; Colysis; Dendroconche; Zealandia; lecanopteroid; microsoroid; taxonomy

Appeared or available online: November 16, 2021

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  • 1 month later...

I suspect these additions to Lecanopteris will prove to be very unpopular if only in non academic circles. Therefore both in my Facebook group's pages and in the ant-plant fern section of my e/book database, I have primarily used the earlier study that created two new and one resurrected genera to accommodate these transfers. I also added details deemed pertinent to ant-plant enthusiasts. I suggest that the future evolution of tropical myrmecophyte Lecanopteris species may be vastly different  to species such as those for example endemic to the temperate climate of the New Zealand islands with their very depauperate native ant fauna. Of course humans and climate change will probably have major impacts. Our mass movements of species around our planet is already homogenizing our planet. Hopefully these changes will be published in a 2022 edition of my data base. Furthermore, I have already vastly improved some sections but here it is summer so I am making the most of it.


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