Multi-approach analysis of the diversity in Colletotrichum cliviae sensu lato
Colletotrichum cliviae is a fungal species reported both as pathogen and endophyte with broad geographical distribution. Some purported isolates of this species have been assigned to different taxa, including Colletotrichum aracearum, Colletotrichum orchidearum and Colletotrichum. sichuanensis, for which a preliminary analysis of extensive multilocus (ACT, GAPDH, ITS, TUB2) data in this study revealed high sequence similarity with C. cliviae. We further reassessed the species delineation by using the coalescent method of the generalized mixed Yule-coalescent (GMYC) and Poisson Tree Processes (PTP). Single and multilocus gene trees strongly supported a C. cliviae s. lat. clade including the four species. This clade unfolded eight subclades grouped into three distinct lineages, but no monophyly of any of the four species. GMYC and PTP analyses confidently supported the evolutionary independence of these lineages. C. sichuanensis and C. cliviae, except one isolate, formed the largest lineage. The second lineage was made up of isolates named C. aracearum and some of C. orchidearum sharing the haplotype and the third lineage accommodated two isolates named C. cliviae and C. orchidearum. This finding suggests the synonymization of C. sichuanensis with C. cliviae whereas the taxonomic status of C. aracearum and C. orchidearum still needs clarification. This study lays great stress upon the use of comprehensive data for sequence-based characterisation of species in the C. cliviae s. lat. It also presents the first report of C. cliviae in tropical Africa and on citrus host.