Gliophorus reginae is an indicator of mycologically rich but nutrient-poor grassland (a “waxcap grassland” species). This habitat, which may be of low conservation concern for its plant and animal diversity, is rapidly disappearing worldwide due to changes in land use (intensification of farming practice, ploughing and increased use of fertilizers and pesticides) and increasing airborne eutrophication.
This species was only described in 2013 but is very conspicuous and easy to recognize in the field. However it has been known for much longer and was previously classified as Hygrocybe sciophanoides var. carneoviolacea (described in 2001). It has also been regarded as a colour form of Gliophorus psittacinus, now known to be a species complex. It is currently known from relatively few localities and all are within Europe (mainly western Europe). Decline in area and quality of available grassland habitat has approached (or possibly exceeded) 30% over the last 50 years. This decline in habitat is expected to continue even more rapidly over the next 50 years (approximately three generations: one generation for waxcap species is estimated to be around 17 years). Currently the known population size is only ca. 300 mature individuals but as this species will have been recorded in some places as merely an undescribed form of the G. psittacinus complex, the true figure is currently unknown and could be over 2,500. The species is assessed as Vulnerable because of a reduction in population size of more than 30% over the last 50 years, a decline suspected to continue and caused by habitat loss and degradation. This meets the threshold for VU A2c+3c+4c.
Synonym: Hygrocybe sciophanoides var. carneoviolacea B. Lefebvre, Docums Mycol. 31(no. 121): 25 (2001). A barcode sequence from an authentic specimen named as this was shown to match the corresponding sequence from the holotype of G. reginae (Dentinger et al., unpubl.).
Priority is rank-limited and reginae is the first epithet to be used for this fungus at specific rank.
Currently known in western Europe but possibly occurring elsewhere on the continent.
Fidalgo (2017) documented specimens from 6 northern Spanish localities (the Basque Country and Asturias) and stated that, although it was site-faithful, it was not very common in the area. Lefebvre reported several dozen basidiomata on a cattle-grazed hillside in northern France. There is an illustration of a Danish collection in Boertmann 2nd edn (sub Hygrocybe psittacina, p.91). The Lost & Found Fungi Project website shows all British verified records, currently 24 localities (England, N. Ireland and Wales). Currently only ca. 300 mature individuals recorded but true figure currently unknown and could be over 2,500. More than 75% of the grassland habitats in the EU are in an unfavourable condition according to draft data provided by Member States under Article 17 of the Habitats Directive. Over the past decade, grassland butterflies have suffered large declines in Europe, with a reduction of almost 50%, with little sign of improvement (http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/biodiversity/comm2006/pdf/sebi_full.pdf).
Population Trend: Decreasing
Gliophorus reginae is an indicator of mycologically rich but nutrient-poor grassland (a “waxcap grassland” species). This habitat, which may be of low conservation concern for its plant and animal diversity, is rapidly disappearing worldwide due to changes in land use (intensification of farming practice, ploughing and increased use of fertilizers and pesticides) and increasing airborne eutrophication. Waxcaps are currently regarded as forming a biotrophic relationship with plants but the details remain unclear.
Changes in land use especially farming practices and eutrophication. Waxcaps are nitrogen-sensitive organisms.
Grazing, at least before the onset of the fruiting season is important for conservation of waxcaps. On sites (e.g. sloping, thin soils) where cattle would cause soil erosion, sheep are the preferred grazing animal.
Further site survey and recording needed. Ecological research required on clarifying resource relations
Ainsworth, A.M., Cannon, P.F. & Dentinger, B.T.M. (2013). DNA barcoding and morphological studies reveal two new species of waxcap mushrooms (Hygrophoraceae) in Britain. Mycokeys 7:45–62.
Boertmann, D. (2010). The genus Hygrocybe. Fungi of Northern Europe 1. 2nd revised edition. Danish Mycological Society, Copenhagen.
Fidalgo, E. (2017). Aportación al conocimiento del género Gliophorus Herink. Revista micológica “Errotari” No. 14 Año 2017: 19–34.
Lefebvre, B. (2001). Hygrocybe sciophanoides (Rea) Orton & Watl. (var. carneoviolacea v. nov.) espèce ou variété nouvelle pour la France? Documents Mycologiques 31(121):23–26.
Lost & Found Fungi Project website: http://fungi.myspecies.info/content/lost-found-fungi-project