A rare to very rare species red-listed in several European countries, and recognized as rare in the USA.
EUROPE: Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Sweden, UK. NORTH AMERICA: Canada (Nova Scotia), USA (Idaho, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee). Altitude: generally a lowland species, but with records up to 1400 m.
Because trained dogs can find hypogeous fungi more easily than humans, estimates of abundance of all hypogeous species tend to be higher in Mediterranean countries where there is a tradition of using such animals. Described by ŁAWRYNOWICZ (2006) as rare in Europe. There have been no records of this species in the UK since 1952. In Hungary, it is listed as critically endangered (SILLER, VASAS, PÁL-FÁM, BRATEK, ZAGYVA, & FODOR, 2005) and is legally protected. It has been red-listed as declining in Poland, near threatened in Finland, rare in Denmark and Norway, vulnerable in Sweden, and as threatened because of extreme rarity in Germany. The species has been assessed as rare (category B, predisturbance surveys not practical) in Oregon, with the only record linked to the territory of the highly endangered northern spotted owl, and has been included in a list of species to be protected (albeit as a vascular plant) in the state’s Landowner Incentive Programme. Using IUCN Categories and criteria, MINTER (2007) assessed the conservation status of this species globally as Vulnerable.
Hypogeous fungi make an important contribution to the dynamics of woodland and forest soils, through their mutualism with mammals resulting in digging and aeration: a disturbed forest soil surface is often indicative of the presence of Elaphomyces, and this species has been found in the USA associated with scratchings made by deer. Species of Elaphomyces typically occur at the interface between the organic soil above and the mineral soil below. Some, including the present species, may also be mycorrhizal (BARROETAVEÑA, RAJCHENBERG & CÁZARES, 2005) thereby playing an important rôle in forest health. In England, E. anthracinus has been found at or up to 8 cm below the surface in various soils including clay, black humus and black burnt soil. Soils have varied in acidity from pH 5.7 to pH 7. Aspects have included north facing, ridge tops and flat areas. The species has been observed in February, March, April, May, June, August, September, October and November. Elaphomyces aculeatus is occasionally parasitized by Cordyceps agariciformis (= Elaphocordyceps capitata). Parasitism of the Elaphomycetaceae by members of that genus is common; the often brightly coloured fruitbodies of Cordyceps above ground can help in the finding of associated Elaphomyces underground. There has been speculation that the cosmopolitan mycorrhizal fungus Cenococcum geophilum Fr. is the anamorph of E. anthracinus, but molecular studies have not been able to confirm this (LOBUGLIO, 1990). Associated plants: Corylus avellana; Fagus sylvatica; Fagus sp.; Picea abies; Pinus ponderosa; Pinus sp.; Tsuga sp. Other associated organisms: Cervidae; Cordyceps agariciformis (= Elaphocordyceps capitata). Other substrata: soil.
Some species of Elaphomyces accumulate high levels of radioactivity following nuclear pollution, and E. anthracinus seems likely to be similarly affected.
BARROETAVEÑA, C.; RAJCHENBERG, M.; CÁZARES, E. Mycorrhizal fungi in Pinus ponderosa introduced in central Patagonia (Argentina). Nova Hedwigia 80: 453-464 (2005). DODGE, C.W. The higher Plectascales Annales Mycologici 27: 145-184 (1929). GILLIS, W.T. Subterranean Elaphomyces and Rhizopogon in the Michigan jack-pine region. Mycologia 51 (3): 364-367 (1959). HAWKER, L.E. Revised annotated list of British hypogeous fungi. Transactions of the British Mycological Society 63: 67-76 (1974). ŁAWRYNOWICZ, M. Hypogeous fungi collected in Estonia in 1989 and 1999. Folia Cryptogamica Estonica 43: 67-71 (2006) [available on-line at http://www.ut.ee/ial5/fce/FCE_eLibrary/FCEeBooks/FCE42eBook.pdf]. LOBUGLIO, K.F. Variation in ribosomal DNA among isolates of the mycorrhizal fungus Cenococcum geophilum Fr. Dissertation Abstracts International 51-11 (section B): 5122 (1990). MINTER, D.W. Elaphomyces anthracinus. IMI Descriptions of Fungi and Bacteria 1716 (2007). MORENO-ARROYO, B., GÓMEZ, J. & PULIDO, E. Tesoros de Nuestros Montes. Trufas de Andalucía. (Córdoba, Spain: Consejería de Medio Ambiente, Junta de Andalucía): 352 pp. (2005). PEGLER, D.N., SPOONER, B.M. & YOUNG, T.W.K. British Truffles a Revision of British Hypogeous Fungi (Kew, UK: Royal Botanic Gardens): [i-viii], 216 pp., 26 plates (1993). SILLER, I., VASAS, G., PÁL-FÁM, F., BRATEK, Z., ZAGYVA, I. & FODOR, L. Hungarian distribution of the legally protected macrofungi species. Studia Botanica Hungarica 36: 131-163 (2005). STOVER, W.G. & JOHNSON, M.M. Two Ohio subterranean ascomycetes and their ascomycetous parasites. Ohio Journal of Science 30 (3): 177-182 (1930). VENTURELLA, G., SAITTA, A. & PECORELLA,-E. Fungal biodiversity in chestnut woods of Sicily (southern Italy). Advances in Horticultural Science 20 (1): 16-20 (2006).
See also the following internet pages:
http://ocid.nacse.org/fsl/handbook.pdf (occurrence in Oregon, USA);
http://oregonstate.edu/ornhic/survey/elaphomyces_anthracinus_global.pdf (conservation status evaluation for Oregon, USA);
http://www.artdata.slu.se/Bern_Fungi/Swedish fungal Red List 2005.pdf (red listing for Sweden);
http://www.asturnatura.com/articulos/revista/catalogohongosast.pdf (occurrence on in Spain);
http://www.bfn.de/fileadmin/MDB/documents/RoteListePflanzen.pdf (red listing for Germany);
http://www.dfw.state.or.us/LIP/species_list.pdf (listing in the Landowner Incentive Program, Oregon, USA);
http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/pubs/gtr572/gtr572.pdf (listing as rare for Oregon, USA);
http://www.grzyby.pl/czerwona-lista-skorowidz-lat.htm (red listing for Poland);
http://www.netbiologen.dk/rodliste/rodsvampe.htm (red listing for Denmark);
http://www.wsl.ch/eccf/newsletter14.pdf (legal protection in Hungary);
http://www.ymparisto.fi/default.asp?contentid=29083&lan=en (red listing in Finland);
www2.artsdatabanken.no/rodlistesok/Artsinformasjon.aspx?ArtsId=24915 (red listing for Norway).