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A Checklist of the Mosses of Chile

Welcome | Abstract | Introduction | Acknowledgments
Systematic Arrangement of Genera | Recognized Species
Checklist | Literature Cited

Abstract. The Moss Flora of Chile contains 778 species and 88 subspecific taxa in 203 genera and 63 families. The checklist includes provincial distributions for all accepted species based on either literature reports and/or herbarium specimens. Accompanying the list is a systematic arrangement of the genera and families. Twenty-four taxa and five genera are newly reported for Chile. Five new combinations, Dicranoweisia subglobosa (Herz.) comb. nov., Pohlia looseri (Thér.) comb. nov., P. magnifica (Herz.) comb. nov., Achrophyllum anomalum (Schwaegr.) Mitt. var. pallidum (Card. & Broth.), comb. nov., and Thamnobryum crassinervium (Broth.) comb. nov. are made.

Chile occupies the long, narrow coastal area between the Andes Mts. and the Pacific Ocean. It is about 4264 kilometers long (from 17o30'S to 55o59'S), but only about 356 kilometers wide (Fig. 1). Climate zonations of the country are pronounced with hot, dry conditions in the northern region, warm, humid conditions in the central region, and cool, windy conditions in the southern region. Due to the influence of cyclonic storms from the Pacific Ocean, Chile generally receives heavy precipitation except in the northern montane regions. Its vegetation is typified by dry, subtropical desert shrubs or xerophytic shrubs in the high plateau of the northern region, sclerophyllous, broad-leaved deciduous forests in the central region, and by temperate, evergreen rain forest or subantarctic, broad-leaved deciduous forests and tundra in the southern region (Walter 1979). The moss flora Chile is characteristically south temperate, and differs notably from that of nearby neotropical countries where tropical and subtropical elements predominate.

The study of the bryophyte flora of Chile began with the Beagle Expedition, in which Charles Darwin collected in Archipelago de Chonos and Cape Tres Montes (Darwin 1839). Based on Darwin's collection, Taylor (1846) described Jungermannia chonotica Tayl. and Lepidozia chordulifera Tayl., and Hooker (1847) reported Dicranum aciphyllum Hook. & Wils. from Chile. The earliest floristic report on Chilean bryophytes appears to be that published by Lorentz (1866). In his monumental volume Musci Austro-Americani, Mitten (1869) described a vast number South American mosses, including some from Chile. Thereafter, numerous bryologists, such as Brotherus (1905, 1924a, 1924b), Cardot & Brotherus (1923), Dusén (1903a, 1903b, 1905a-c, 1906a-b), Herzog (1954), Herzog & Hosseus (1938), Herzog & Schwabe (1939), and Roivainen (1937) studied Chilean bryophytes floristically. Thériot (1915, 1917, 1918, 1921, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929a-b, 1930, 1933, 1934a-b,1935) published extensively on Chilean bryophytes and his contributions became a useful source for compiling the present checklist.

Chile holds great promise of new bryological discoveries in South America because of its extensive south temperate regions. However, the taxonomic information on Chilean bryophytes is poor in comparison to the understanding of the bryophyte floras of other South American countries. The following South American countries have floristic checklists: Argentina--1002 mosses (Kuehnemann 1938) and 342 hepatics (Kuehnemann 1949); Bolivia--1222 mosses (Hermann 1976); Brazil--1964 mosses (Yano 1981, 1996) and 1160 hepatics (Yano 1984, 1996); Colombia--900 mosses (Florschutz-De Warrd & Florschutz 1979, Churchill 1989, 1991) and 786 hepatics (Gradstein & Hekking 1979); Ecuador--874 mosses (Steere 1948, Robinson et al. 1977, Churchill 1994) and 148 hepatics (Arnell 1962); Peru--889 mosses (Schultze-Motel & Menzel 1987, Menzel 1992); and Venezuela--626 mosses (Pursell 1973). There are merely a few studies on Chilean bryophytes available in recent literature. The first attempt at a comprehensive list of Chilean bryophytes was that of Mahu (1979) who published a list of 45 families and 182 genera of Chilean mosses. Engel (1978) reported 193 species of Hepaticae and Anthocerotae from Brunswick Penninsula. Seki (1974) enumerated 188 species and 4 varieties of mosses from Aisen province.

The present study attempts to compile an up-to-date checklist of Chilean mosses based on literature reports and specimens. The catalog contains more than 1500 specific and subspecific names, including synonyms, illegitimate names, and nomina nuda attributed to Chile in the literature up to the end of 1996. Accepted in the checklist are 778 species and 88 subspecific taxa distributed among 203 genera and 63 families. Among these, twenty-four species and five genera are newly reported for Chile. The five new genera are: Chryso-hypnum Hampe, Cinclidotus P. Beauv., Cratoneuropsis (Broth.) Fleisch, Ephemerum Hampe, and Haplohymenium Dozy & Molk. Five new combinations are made: Dicranoweisia subglobosa (Herz.) comb. nov., Pohlia looseri (Thér.) comb. nov., P. magnifica (Herz.) comb. nov., Achrophyllum anomalum (Schwaegr.) Mitt. var. pallidum (Card. & Broth.), comb. nov., and Thamnobryum crassinervium (Broth.) comb. nov.. To show the range of a taxon in Chile, its provincial distribution is given. The number of accepted taxa recorded for each geographic region of Chile as well as for Juan Fernandez Islands is provided in Table 1. All papers dealing with Chilean mosses were evaluated, however, only primary papers, i.e. those citing specimen information were used in compiling the provincial distributions. The specific epithets recognized in this checklist are validly published names that are widely accepted or that reflect the opinions expressed in published monographs. There are 26 taxa tentatively accepted and 51 taxa treated as insufficiently known. A tentatively "accepted" status is given to varieties when their autonyms have been transferred to other genera or otherwise synonymized. These non-autonym varieties are kept in their original placements pending future studies. An insufficiently known status is given mostly to forms and varieties that have not been studied since originally published.

Table 1. Number of accepted taxa reported for political regions of Chile

of taxa
I. TarapacaArica, Iquique, Parinacota 0
II. AntofagastaAntofagasta, El Loa, Tocopilla 8
III. AtacamaChanaral, Copiapo, Huasco 8
IV. CoquimboChoapa, Elqui, Limari 66
V. ValparaisoLos Andes, Petorca, Quillota, San Antonio, Aconcagua, Valparaiso 169
VI. O'HigginsCachapoal, Cardenal Caro, Colchagua 53
VII. MauleCauquenes, Curico, Linares, Talca 65
VIII. Bio-BioArauco, Biobio, Concepcion, Nuble 190
IX. AraucaniaCautin, Malleco 234
X. Los LagosChiloe, Llanquihue, Osorno, Palena, Valdivia, Is. Guaitecas 412
XI. AisenAisen, Capitan Prat, Coihaique, General Carrera 310
XII. MagallanesAntarctica Chilena, Magallanes, Tierra del Fuego, Ultima Esperanza 450
Metro. SantiagoChacabuco, Cordillera, Maipo, Melipilla, Santiago, Talagante 136
Juan FernandezIsla Robinson Crusoe, Isla Alejandro Selkirk 158

Each "accepted" species entry (in bold face type) includes the citations of primary references, synonyms and references pertinent to Chile in parentheses, and any cross references to other species. Heterotypic synonyms or taxonomic synonyms are marked by an equal sign (=) followed by references to the authors who first proposed the synonymy. Homotypic or nomenclatural synonyms are indicated by an extended equal sign (==). Tentatively accepted taxa are in roman type and insufficiently known taxa are in italic and so are nomina nuda. New records to Chile are marked by an asterisk. The genera are arranged alphabetically and within each genus the species and the subspecific names are also arranged alphabetically. The systematic arrangement of the genera and families follows the sequence of Brotherus (1924-1925) with minor modifications. Following each genus in the systematic list is the number of species recorded for Chile.

Specimens from Chile deposited at the Missouri Botanical Garden (MO), including those of Manuel Mahu and Marshall Crosby's collections, were examined. Many of the provincial distribution records given in this paper are based on these collections. The present study shows that the northern regions have received little attention both recently and historically. Region II and III have only 16 records while Region I has none (Table 1). In contrast, the southern regions, especially Regions X, XI, and XII, each have more than 300 taxa reported.

The floristic affinities of the Chilean moss flora await critical analysis. In general, the significance of the Chilean bryophyte flora results principally from the following two features. First, the bryophytes associated with the desert region and the northern zone have links to temperate-tropical elements of Bolivia-Ecuador-Colombia. There exists a rather high percentage of higher elevation taxa in this region. Second, the bryophyte flora in the extensive south temperate region has links to southeastern Australia, New Zealand, and Subantarctica.

This research was supported by a post-doctoral fellowship in bryology at the Missouri Botanical Garden. I am grateful to Manuel Mahu who collected the majority of the specimens used by this study. Special thanks are extended to Bruce Allen who has helped solve numerous difficult identifications and made valuable comments. Ronald Pursell is thanked for identifying Fissidens specimens and for his careful review of the manuscript. Zen Iwatsuki is appreciated for his comments and support in publishing this paper. Marshall Crosby was helpful with numerous nomenclatural difficulties and other helpful suggestions. Finally, I want to thank Robert Magill for his encouragement and support in providing me the opportunity to complete this study.

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