The external morphology and internal cell fine structure of a new species of Tovelliaceae, Tovellia rubescens n. sp., is described. Phylogenetic analyses based on partial LSU rDNA sequences place the new species in a clade containing Tovellia species that accumulate red pigments and identify T. aveirensis as its closest known relative. Cells of T. rubescens n. sp. were mostly round and had the cingulum located near the middle, with its ends displaced about one cingular width. Small numbers of distinctly flat cells appeared in culture batches; their significance could not be determined. Cells of the new species in culture batches progressively changed from a yellowish‐green, mainly due to chloroplast colour, to a reddish‐brown colour that appeared associated with lipid bodies. The switch to a reddish colour happened earlier in batches grown in medium lacking sources of N or P. Pigment analyses by HPLC‐MS/MS revealed the presence of astaxanthin and astaxanthin‐related metabolites in the new species, but also in T. aveirensis, in which a reddish colour was never observed. The chloroplast arrangement of T. rubescens n. sp. resembled that of T. aveirensis, with lobes radiating from a central pyrenoid complex. The flagellar apparatus and pusular system fell within the general features described from other Tovelliaceae. A row of microtubules interpretable as a microtubular strand of the peduncle was present. Spiny resting cysts with red contents and an ITS sequence identical to that of cultured material of the new species were found in the original locality.
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