Plant pathologists are regularly confronted with having to choose a name for their pathogen of interest and mycologists often need to decide when to recognize a new species or apply an existing name.*
You probably know already that defining species in mycology is anything but a very easy task. Just in case you’re not, this is a quote for you. This is probably one of the biggest issue with these organisms (and especially with plant pathogens). They look very similar each other, and sometimes it’s not just some bits they share in common, they really look the very same alike (like it or not). Probably at some point you need to just dig the DNA, compare sequences, and eventually get an idea as to just how close to other known thingies they are. With bacteria there’s a common agreement as to how much dissimilarity is expected before you decide both sequences belong to two different species. But with fungi??? Notwithstanding these things obey to the great command of eucaryot species concept that having sex with another sweety is birthing
cats kinds of the same will make them happy members of the taxonomical club. Notwithstanding that they also indulge into irregular sex events (even unevenly), by which same sex intercourse can result in offspring in a similar way. And it doesn’t stop here, they can do that above traditional breeding species levels (just like bacteria’s parasexuality) and frankly it’s very bad for genetic record tracks. Very bad. Fortunately there’s some life-belt concept in this sea of biological unfairness, and biologists can be saved with species complex concepts. Still, this makes me barely willing to put a toe in the dark waters of FGM (take for Fungi Genetics Matters or Freakingly Glueing Miseries).
*L Cai, T Giraud, N Zhang, D Begerow, G Cai & RG Shivas (2011). The evolution of species concepts and species recognition criteria in plant pathogenic fungi. Fungal Diversity 50(1):121-133 DOI 10.1007/s13225-011-0127-8