A new species of Tetradesmus (Tetradesmus adustus) is described from desert soils of southwestern North America. The identification is based on phylogenetic analysis of data from nuclear (ITS2 rDNA) and plastid (rbcL, tufA) barcode markers. This newly described species represents the fifth cryptic species of arid-adapted algae in Scenedesmaceae. A re-analysis of published sequences attributed to desert Tetradesmus in the context of our newly obtained data reiterates the importance of robust phylogenetic analysis in identification of cryptic taxa, such as species of Tetradesmus.
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