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An Eocene Tar Spot on a Fossil Palm and Its Fungal Hyperparasite

R. S. Currah, R. A. Stockey and B. A. LePage
Mycologia
Vol. 90, No. 4 (Jul. - Aug., 1998), pp. 667-673
DOI: 10.2307/3761225
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3761225
Page Count: 7
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An Eocene Tar Spot on a Fossil Palm and Its Fungal Hyperparasite
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Abstract

Two ascomycetes from the middle Eocene (48.7 million yr b.p.) Princeton chert are described. Palaeoserenomyces allenbyensis gen. et sp. nov. consists of long, loculate stromata of distinctive columnar cells beneath the epidermis of the extinct fan palm, Uhlia allenbyensis. The sporogenous locules are empty but stromatal features and locule shape are similar to extant Serenomyces, a genus in the Phyllachorales that forms leaf spots on coryphoid palms. The locules of P. allenbyensis contain circular structures that are interpreted as intralocular ascomata of a mycoparasite, Cryptodidymosphaerites princetonensis gen. et sp. nov. Two-celled ascospores in uniseriate rows are similar to the genus Didymosphaeria of the Melanommatales. These fossils are compared to Didymosphaeria conoidea, an extant mycoparasite of stromatic ascomycetes. The large number of exquisitely preserved fungal structures on taxonomically defined hosts in the Princeton chert provides a unique opportunity for studying the diversity of microfungi in Tertiary paleoenvironments.

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