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Austroboletus viscidoviridis N.A. Fechner, Bonito, T. Lebel & Halling

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Scientific name
Austroboletus viscidoviridis
Author
N.A. Fechner, Bonito, T. Lebel & Halling
Common names
 
IUCN Specialist Group
Mushroom, Bracket and Puffball
Kingdom
Fungi
Phylum
Basidiomycota
Class
Agaricomycetes
Order
Boletales
Family
Boletaceae
Assessment status
Published
Assessment date
2019-07-23
IUCN Red List Category
VU
IUCN Red List Criteria
C1
Assessors
Leonard, P.L.
Reviewers
Mueller, G.M.

Assessment Notes

The content on this page is fetched from The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/154427870/154427897

Justification

Austroboletus viscidoviridis is a distinctive species , easy to identify in the field. It is one of a very rich and diverse population of Boletes that inhabit the once extensive sand dunes of the Queensland coast. Many of the dune systems have been developed for housing, tourism and transport infrastructure and others have been planted with forests using exotic species. Although this development trend is slowing, this coastal dune systems will be vulnerable to other threats including sea level changes and storm surges resulting from climate change.

There have only ever been six functional individuals found in three separate sites and they probably represent two sub-populations. In the south, Fraser Island and Cooloola have been intensively studied by bolete specialists but this species has only been recorded in the southern section of the Noosa National Park and at the Ben Bennett Reserve in Caloundra. The northern population is represented by a single collection at Cape Tribulation. The habitat in which this species is found has declined rapidly as it is much in demand for coastal development. The sites in which these collections have been made are under high recreational pressure, they have been damaged by fire and other management practices.

With an estimated population size of 1200-6000 mature individuals and a continuing decline of at least 10% over three generations, this species qualifies as Vulnerable C1.

Taxonomic notes

This highly distinctive species was described in 2017. All collections have been examined.

Geographic range

This species occurs in Australia, limited to coastal Queensland. It has been recorded from three sites, two in close proximity in southeast Queensland, one 1600 km away at Cape Tribulation (northern Queensland).

Population and Trends

The collection of data on the distribution and population of fungi in Queensland was almost wholly dependent on the work of the staff at the Queensland herbarium until 1995. The herbarium currently holds 5200 fungal specimens accumulated over 150 years. Recording has undergone considerable change in the past 25 years. The foundation of Fungimap in 1995 engaged citizen scientists in recording fungi and those records are now part of the ALA database. Over 100000 records have been collected by Fungimap some of which were for Queensland. In 2007 the Queensland Mycological Society was founded and began a program of organised forays mainly focused on South East Queensland. About 300 days of effort are expended annually by members and some 4000 records have been made. The rate of fungal specimens added to the Herbarium has increased from 25 per annum over the previous century to 125 per annum in the last decade. More recently the creation of a South East Queensland Facebook group has allowed other naturalists to contribute information on the sighting of fungi over a wider area of the state. All this effort means that fungal records are more extensive in the last decade than in previous periods. This makes it difficult to establish trends, but also means that there is now a greater degree of accuracy about the size and distribution of fungal populations. 

Halling and Fechner, who co-authored this taxon, have carried out lengthy surveys of its habitat over a number of years and this adds considerably to our confidence in the estimate of population size.

The species has been recorded at three sites, each expected to be represented by two functional individuals. It is reasonable to assume this should be doubled to account for unrecorded individuals at the known sites, x10 to convert to number of mature individuals gives an estimate of 120 mature individuals at the known sites. Although the two areas it has been recorded in are separated by a long distance and vary ecologically, much of the intervening habitat is deemed to be inhospitable as it is much drier: this distribution gap is also seen in other species of fungus, plant, and small mammal. This leaves potentially suitable habitat in two areas which are each large (coastal belts of around 300 km length) but much fragmented by development. Using a multiplier of 10-50 to account for the number of unknown sites gives a total of 1200-6000 mature individuals.

Approximately 60-70% of suitable habitat in the southern area of distribution has been lost within the last 50 years (3 generations of this species), and in the northern area of distribution approximately 50% of suitable habitat has been lost around Cairns within the same timeframe, although the rate over the whole of the northern area will be slower than this. This rate of loss has been accelerating in the last 10 years. This is expected to represent at least a 10% decline in population size over the past 50 years, and this decline is likely to continue at at least the same rate.

Population Trend: decreasing


Habitat and Ecology

This species is found in wet and dry coastal heathlands and dune systems. It is thought to be ectomycorrhizal with Allocasuarina, Melaleuca and/or Eucalyptus.

Threats

Land clearing has removed the host species and therefore the fungus from many areas developed for urban uses. The extent of habitat has decreased significantly. In 2013, less about 30% of the pre-settlement habitat remained amounting to less than 10,000 hectares (Regional Ecosystem Assessment).

The sites in which the collections have been made are under high recreational pressure from increased urbanisation. The limited evidence available suggests that this family of fungi (Boletaceae) are not fire tolerant (Robinson and Tunsell 2007). One of the sites (Marcus Beach) has been significantly altered due to the widening of a fire belt and the fungus has not reappeared since this occurred. At the Caloundra site there is a threat of a new road being put through the Ben Bennett Park. Whilst National Parks appear to be protected from most of the past threats, fungi are not recognised in conservation management plans and therefore any future changes may not favour the conservation of this species. 

Feral animals have a large effect on many Australian habitats. In these dune systems cattle, horses, deer and pigs are potential problems for fungi and their hosts. It is thought that wild pigs and cattle may have the most significant effects. Pigs through digging large areas of soil and consumption of fruit bodies and cattle through trampling and increasing nitrogen levels.

Future threats also include the effects of climate change. Increasing sea level and more frequent and higher intensity of storms to which this coastal habitat is particularly vulnerable. Harsher fire weather and drought are also predicted and may pose additional threats.

Conservation Actions

This taxon occurs in a Bushland reserve and two National Parks, all of which have management plans (DNPSR). Writing the species in to the management plans would lead to proper consideration of its conservation. Action may be needed to amend the fire regime in the Noosa N.P. as the site for this fungus is on a newly enlarged fire break The Caloundra site is a reserve within an urban area and is well used as an urban park, management measures to protect the site of this fungus from recreational pressure and from road building are required.

The life cycle and habitat requirements of this species and of other mycorrhizal boletes are poorly understood. Research is needed to elucidate this and to formulate effective management plans. The establishment of new colonies of Boletes seems to pose special problems which has resulted in several species being red listed in European countries.

Use and Trade

This species is not utilised.

Source and Citation

Leonard, P.L. 2019. Austroboletus viscidoviridis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T154427870A154427897. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-3.RLTS.T154427870A154427897.en .Downloaded on 30 January 2021

Country occurrence