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Beautiful but hiding unpleasant surprise: Three new species of fetid fungi from New Zealand

Date:
June 27, 2013
Source:
Pensoft Publishers
Summary:
Scientists describe three new species of fungi from New Zealand. The new species belong to the genus Gymnopus and are mostly distinguished by their unpleasant odor typical for the subgroup of Gymnopus historically described in the genus Micromphale. The species live mostly on dead tree trunks and are seen in colonies from just a few up to hundreds of fruitbodies.

This image shows the beautiful fruit bodies of the newly described Gymnopus imbricatus. (Scale bar: 1 mm)
Credit: Jerry Cooper

With the help of phylogenetic analysis, scientists describe three new fungus species from New Zealand. The new species belong to the widespread genus Gymnopus, part of the Omphalotaceae family, the most famous representative of which, the Shiitake mushroom, is the favorite of many.

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The study was published in the open access journal Mycokeys.

Gymnopus imbricatus, G. ceraceicola and G. hakaroa can be recognized by their strong, unpleasant odor when crushed. The smell produced by these species is most commonly described as rotting cabbage or garlic. The species grow in colonies of just a few up to an impressive display of hundreds of fruitbodies on dead tree trunks or on the lower trunk parts of still living trees. Another characteristic is the presence of a waxy layer from which the fruitbodies emerge, which is usually colored in green due to the algae commonly living in the substance.

The species are described as part of an on-going study on the common larger fungi of New Zealand. To date, and across all fungal groups, there are around 8,000 species of fungi known in New Zealand, of which around 2,000 are indigenous and the remainder introduced in recent times. However, the figure for indigenous species represents perhaps 20% of the total, with the remainder undescribed. In addition, some of the names applied to New Zealand fungi in earlier periods are incorrect uses of names applied to northern hemisphere species, and the New Zealand fungi are different and indigenous species.

Phylogenetic studies indicate that some of these fungi represent ancient southern hemisphere lineages, whereas as others originate from the dispersal of northern hemisphere species followed by local radiation. "This paper is a small contribution to filling the gap in the knowledge of New Zealand and Southern hemisphere species and their origins -- there is still a long way to go," said the lead author of the study, Dr Jerry Cooper.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Pensoft Publishers. The original story is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jerry Cooper, Pat Leonard. Three new species of foetid Gymnopus in New Zealand. MycoKeys, 2013; 7: 31 DOI: 10.3897/mycokeys.7.4710

Cite This Page:

Pensoft Publishers. "Beautiful but hiding unpleasant surprise: Three new species of fetid fungi from New Zealand." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130627125202.htm>.
Pensoft Publishers. (2013, June 27). Beautiful but hiding unpleasant surprise: Three new species of fetid fungi from New Zealand. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130627125202.htm
Pensoft Publishers. "Beautiful but hiding unpleasant surprise: Three new species of fetid fungi from New Zealand." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130627125202.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

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