Ophioceraceae Klaubauf, E.G. LeBrun & Crous, Studies in Mycology 79: 85–120 (2014)

Index Fungorum number: IF 810201; 23 species

Saprobic on wood and other plant material, commonly isolated in aquatic habitats. Sexual morph: Ascomata perithecial, solitary or in small groups, immersed or semi-immersed, dark brown to black, globose to subglobose, coriaceous, ostiolate. Ostiole long neck, lined with periphyses. Paraphyses numerous, septate, tapering, hypha-like, thin-walled, filamentous, branched, intermingled among asci. Peridium thick, 3-layered, blackened. Asci 8-spored, unitunicate, subcylindrical to narrowly fusoid, apedicellate, with thimble-shaped, J-, apical ring. Ascospores fasciculate, hyaline, yellowish in mass, filiform, septate. Asexual morph: Undetermined (adapted from Maharachchikumbura et al. 2016b).

Type genus – Ophioceras Sacc.

Notes – The monotypic family Ophioceraceae was introduced by Klaubauf et al. (2014) in Magnaporthales to accommodate Ophioceras. Ophioceras, contains species that mostly occur on wood submerged in freshwater. Previously, Ophioceras was placed in Magnaporthaceae following the phylogenetic analysis of Chen et al. (1999) and Inderbitzin & Berbee (2001). However, based on analysis of combined LSU and rpb1, Ophioceras clusters separately from Magnaporthaceae in Magnaporthales (Thongkantha et al. 2009) and hence a new monotypic family was introduced (Klaubauf et al. 2014).

Ecological and economic significance of Ophioceraceae
Saprobic taxa such as Ophioceras species have the ability to decompose lignocellulosic matter in woody litter, resulting in softening of the wood and releasing nutrients in the form of simple molecules that go back into the soil and can be reused by plants and all other organisms (Yuen et al. 1998, Bucher et al. 2004). Thus, they play an important role in nutrient and carbon cycling, biological diversity and ecosystem functioning (Palmer et al. 1997, Wong et al. 1998a). Reátegui et al. (2005) isolated four new tetrahydropyran derivatives called ophiocerins A-D and a new africane sesquiterpenoid (ophioceric acid) from cultures of the aquatic fungus venezuelense, provided structures and relative stereochemistry of these compounds. Dong et al. (2010) isolated a novel neolignan with an unprecedented dibenzo-1, 6-dioxacyclodecane carbon skeleton, ophiocerol from cultural filtrates of the freshwater fungus Ophioceras dolichostomum. Ophioceras is therefore a source of novel biologically active secondary metabolites.