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  • Under Assessment
  • LCPreliminary Assessed
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Sphaerobolus stellatus Tode

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Scientific name
Sphaerobolus stellatus
Common names
Artillery fungus
Zvaigžņu lodmete
IUCN Specialist Group
Mushroom, Bracket and Puffball
Assessment status
Preliminary Assessed
Preliminary Category
Proposed by
Angeles De Leon
Angeles De Leon
Gregory Mueller
Annya Ambrose, Amy Choong, Gerhard Kost, SuSee Lee, Siti Nordahliawate Mohamed Sidique, Gregory Mueller, Andrew Anak Ngadin, Cherdchai Phosri, Olivier Raspé, Rosnida Tajuddin
Comments etc.
Francisco Calaça, Inita Daniele

Assessment Notes

Gbif give 3000 occurrences, 114 in iNaturalist, nearly cosmopolitan.

Taxonomic notes

Sphaerobolus stellatus Tode has different varieties such as the following:
Sphaerobolus stellatus var. bistellatus
Sphaerobolus stellatus var. brasiliensis
Sphaerobolus stellatus var. giganteus
Sphaerobolus stellatus var. muscosus
Sphaerobolus stellatus var. solen
Sphaerobolus stellatus var. stercorarius
Sphaerobolus stellatus var. unistellatus

Why suggested for a Global Red List Assessment?

Despite mycologists’ interest in its unique spore-dispersal mechanism, systematic studies of the genus Sphaerobolus have received little attention (Geml et al., 2005) Furthermore, Walker (1927) cited that no authentic specimen of any species of Sphaerobolus have been available for comparison and all descriptions are so inadequate that positive determination of this species are difficult.

Geographic range

Found in the dipterocarp forest in the Philippines. In other parts of the world it is growing on decaying wood (e.g., landscape bark mulch), sawdust, herbaceous debris, or dung; spring through fall (Emberger, 2008)

Population and Trends

S. stellatus was collected in the dipterocarp forest in central luzon Philippines in 2011, however this species was no longer encountered in any of the collection in the luzon island of the Philippines in the succeeding years. So, there is a strong possibility that the species occurrence in the area is declining and needs to be further investigated for its conservation status.

Population Trend: Uncertain

Habitat and Ecology

The artillery fungus (Sphaerobolus stellatus) is a common, white-rotting wood decay fungus that grows on landscape mulch (Brantley et al., 2001). It is saprobic; solitary or grouped on decaying wood (e.g., landscape bark mulch), sawdust, herbaceous debris, or dung; spring through fall (Emberger, 2008).  In the Philippines, it was collected from a carabao dung in a lowland forest (De Leon et al., 2012).

Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland Forest


The species has only been collected in one area in Luzon island in the Philippine and it has not been collected again in the past 7 years. However, no data was recorded for it s occurrence in other countries.

Conservation Actions

No conservation actions done yet since it is cosmopolitant and found almost in all parts of the world.

Research needed

Further research is needed for its ecological impact particularly in degrading lignocellulosic material.

Use and Trade

Unknown. Far too small to be of culinary value. Sphaerobolus is the first member of the Phallomycetidae to be subject to whole genome sequencing, and it is therefore likely to possess novel suites of enzymes for degradation of lignocellulose (Kholer et al., 2015).


De Leon AM, Reyes RG and dela Cruz TEE. 2012. An Ethnomycological Survey of Macrofungi Utilized by Aeta Communities in Central Luzon, Philippines. Mycosphere, 3(2), 251-259.

De Leon AM, Luangsa-Ard JJD, Karunarathna SC, Hyde KD, Reyes RG, De La Cruz TEE. 2013. Species listing, distribution, and molecular identification of macrofungi in six Aeta tribal communities in Central Luzon, Philippines. Mycosphere, 4(3), 478–494.

Brantley EA, Davis DD, Kuhns LJ. 2001. Influence of Mulch Characteristics on Sporulation by the Artillery Fungus Sphaerobolus stellatus. Journal of Environmental Horticulture, 19(2):89-95.

Emberger G. 2008. Sphaerobolus stellatus. Messiah College. retrived from http://www.messiah.edu/Oakes/fungi_on_wood/bird’s nest fungi/species pages/Sphaerobolus stellatus.htm

Geml J, Davis DD, Geiser DM. 2005. Systematics of the genus Sphaerobolus based on molecular and morphological data, with the description of Sphaerobolus ingoldii sp. nov., Mycologia, 97:3, 680-694, DOI: 10.1080/15572536.2006.11832798

Kohler A, Kuo A, Nagy LG, Morin E, Barry KW, Buscot F, Canback B, Choi C, Cichocki N, Clum A, Colpaert J, Copeland A, Costa MD, Dore J, Floudas D, Gay G, Girlanda M, Henrissat B, Herrmann S, Hess J, Hogberg N, Johansson T, Khouja HR, LaButti K, Lahrmann U, Levasseur A, Lindquist EA, Lipzen A, Marmeisse R, Martino E, Murat C, Ngan CY, Nehls U, Plett JM, Pringle A, Ohm RA, Perotto S, Peter M, Riley R, Rineau F, Ruytinx J, Salamov A, Shah F, Sun H, Tarkka M, Tritt A, Veneault-Fourrey C, Zuccaro A, Tunlid A, Grigoriev IV, Hibbett DS, Martin F
Convergent losses of decay mechanisms and rapid turnover of symbiosis genes in mycorrhizal mutualists.
Nat Genet. 2015 Apr;47(4):410-5. doi: 10.1038/ng.3223. Epub 2015 Feb 23.

Walker LB. 1927. Development and Mechanism of Discharge on Sphaerobolus iowensis n. sp. and S. stellatus Tode. Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society, 42(3&4):151-178.

Country occurrence

Regional Population and Trends

Country Trend Redlisted