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Gastrosporium simplex Mattir.

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Scientific name
Gastrosporium simplex
Common names
prašnačka kopienkatá
wnętrzniaczek podziemny
kulička kořínkatá
IUCN Specialist Group
Mushroom, Bracket and Puffball
Assessment status
Assessment date
IUCN Red List Category
Berube, J., Jeppson, M., Knutsson, T. & Rebriev, Y.
Brandrud, T.-E., Krisai-Greilhuber, I. & Svetasheva, T.

Assessment Notes

The content on this page is fetched from The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/63579691/63579694


Gastrosporium simplex is а rare semihypogeous species growing in xerothermic grasslands, mainly associated with Stipa, Festuca, Bromus or other grass genera. The habitat and populations have strongly decreased world-wide due to negative factors influencing its habitat. These changes include mainly 1) ceasing of grazing 2) overgrazing pressure and/or 3) ploughing of large areas of steppe ecosystems.

The decline of this fungus is largely due to intensified and expansion of agriculture. In Europe, its potential habitat, hence also its population, is estimated to have declined more than 30% during the last 25 years (three generations). In other parts, the decline is difficult to evaluate, on the average we suspect at least 15-30% decrease of suitable steppe habitats on a global scale over the same period (25 years). Based on this population decline, that is expected to continue in the future, the species is assessed as NT (A2c+3c+4c).

Taxonomic notes

A closely related species, Gastrosporium asiaticum, has been reported from Mongolia. It differs from G. simplex in the structure of the peridium, but is so far only reported from its type locality (a steppe habitat). Its taxonomic status needs to be confirmed with molecular methods.

Geographic range

The species is distributed in Eurasia, there are also a few finds in North America (W Canada and U.S.) and South America (Argentina). Recent findings have been reported from Yakutia (Russian Federation).

Population and Trends

The species has a wide distribution area but is nowhere common. Each distribution area and abundance is heavily influenced and decreasing because of change of land management, such as ploughing, fertilization, conversion into biomass plantations or fields, expansion of production forestry, ceased grazing and micro disturbance but also caused by overgrazing followed by serious erosion. Habitat loss is also caused by urban constructions. The tendency is that the occurrences also get more and more fragmented, especially at the edges of its distribution due to population losses.

Calcareous steppe grasslands are in the Red List of Endangered Biotopes, e.g. in Austria, Norway (Essl and Egger 2010, Artsdatabanken 2018), and the Sub-Pannonic steppic grassland 6240 are all considered to be "unfavourable" habitats in the European Habitat List.

Population Trend: decreasing

Habitat and Ecology

This is a saprotrophic or probably parasitic fungus, associated with Stipa and other xerophytic Poaceae in arid and steppe-like environments. It mainly grows in dry sandy or sometimes rocky, xerophytic grasslands, in open exposed places on soil developed from gypsum and limestone as well as on sandy loam rich in calcium. In central Europe found in relic steppe and calcareous dry grassland habitats. Fruiting bodies are semihypogeous, appearing at the soil surface at maturity and thus favoured by soil disturbance (wind erosion, trampling, animal digging (e.g. ground squirrel, etc). Dispersal is by wind, both as spores but also of whole fruiting bodies being displaced by rough weather situations.


Threats differs in different areas. In European and W. Asian part of distribution mainly because of large steppe areas have been transformed into agricultural areas and have been ploughed up, fertilized and converted into biomass plantations or fields. Habitat loss is also caused by urban constructions. In other parts, mainly Asia the grazing pressure is sometimes too heavy causing changes and degradation of habitats. The decline is difficult to evaluate in different areas, in some countries probably exceeding 50%, in others maybe less. On the average we suspect at least 15-30% decrease of suitable steppe habitats on a global scale over three generation-times (at least 25 years but generation time unknown and might be much longer).

Conservation Actions

Conservation needed: The conservation of known localities and monitoring of the habitat status and populations are needed, as well as the organization of Important Fungal Areas with a highly protected status or other legal protection of localities and suitable habitats.

Research needed: Search for new localities, clarifying of ecological preferences and threats, and determination of the optimal way of the protection and management of steppe ecosystems are recommended. A better documentation of past and ongoing habitat development (e.g. decline) of steppe ecosystem is needed.

Use and Trade

The species is not used.

Source and Citation

Berube, J., Jeppson, M., Knutsson, T. & Rebriev, Y. 2019. Gastrosporium simplex. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T63579691A63579694. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-2.RLTS.T63579691A63579694.en .Downloaded on 31 January 2021

Country occurrence