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Two new Sporothrix species from Protea flower heads in South African Grassland and Savanna.

Ngubane, N. P. ; Dreyer, L. L. ; Oberlander, K. C. ; Roets, F.

Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 2018 Vol 111 No. 6 pp. 965-979;


The inflorescences and infructescences of African Protea trees provide habitat for a large diversity of Sporothrix species. Here we describe two additional members, Sporothrix nsini sp. nov. and Sporothrix smangaliso sp. nov., that are associated with the infructescences of various Protea species from grasslands and savannas in the KwaZulu-Natal, North-West, Gauteng and Mpumalanga provinces of South Africa. Their description raises the number of described Protea-associated Sporothrix species to twelve. S. smangaliso sp. nov. is distantly related to other Protea-associated species and, in phylogenies using multiple markers (ITS, beta-tubulin and calmodulin), groups with taxa such as Sporothrix bragantina from Brazil and Sporothrix curviconia from the Ivory Coast. S. nsini sp. nov. resolved as sister to a clade containing four other Protea-associated species within the Sporothrix stenoceras complex. S. nsini sp. nov. was collected from within the same infructescences of Protea caffra that also contained the closely related S. africana and S. protearum. This highlights the need to study and understand the factors that influence host selection and speciation of Sporothrix in this atypical niche.