Sub-fossil evidence for fungal hyperparasitism (Isthmospora spinosa on Meliola ellisii, on Calluna vulgaris) in a Holocene intermediate ombrotrophic bog in northern-England

B. Van Geel, A. Aptroot, Dmitri Mauquoy

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18 Citations (Scopus)


We analysed a Holocene peat deposit from an intermediate ombrotrophic bog in northern-England (Butterbum Flow), for micro- and macrofossils and discovered the hyperparasite Isthmospora spinosa together with its host, the ascomycete Meliola ellisii, which was a parasite on local Calluna vulgaris. This is the first fossil evidence for hyperparasitism in Quaternary palaeoecological research. The relationship between the three taxa is evident from the fossil record, but does not fit in with information from the mycological literature. Hitherto Isthmospora spinosa is only known from the tropics, and extant Meliola ellisii was observed on Vaccinium species and not on Calluna vulgaris. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-126
Number of pages5
JournalReview of Palaeobotany and Palynology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2006


  • Calluna vulgaris
  • Holocene
  • hyperparasitism
  • Isthmospora spinosa
  • Meliola ellisii
  • palynology
  • Kerala
  • Netherlands
  • remains

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