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  • Under Assessment
  • Preliminary Assessed
  • Assessed
  • VUPublished

Berggrenia aurantiaca Cooke

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Scientific name
Berggrenia aurantiaca
Author
Cooke
Common names
 
IUCN Specialist Group
Cup-fungi, Truffles and Allies
Kingdom
Fungi
Phylum
Ascomycota
Class
Pezizomycetes
Order
Pezizales
Family
Incertae sedis
Assessment status
Published
Assessment date
2019-07-24
IUCN Red List Category
VU
IUCN Red List Criteria
D1
Assessors
Buchanan, P.
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/154635584/154635630

Justification

The very limited data on the species' habitat and ecology limits inferences into its distribution, population size or trends. Its published habitat, soil under podocarps, is a widely distributed vegetation type across remaining forested areas of New Zealand. It has been actively searched for in recent decades, and is visually quite conspicuous with its orange and contrasting off-white coloration. While only known from 4 collections (from 3 locations), and not reported for the past 40 years, it is assumed that the species persists and occurs scattered across the country in very low numbers. It is predicted that there are up to 100 sites, each with two distinct genets. Using the recommendation in Dahlberg and Mueller (2011), 2-3 mature individuals per genet are predicted, giving a total suspected population of up to 400-600 mature individuals. This very rare species is thereby assessed as VU using D1 (<1,000 mature individuals).

Taxonomic notes

Berggrenia aurantiaca is the type species of a monotypic genus, distinctive and relatively large (c. 2 cm across), superficially similar to the bright orange Paurocotylis pila but perhaps a little paler, and with a distinctive, pale yellow, short, stalk-like base.

Geographic range

Berggerenia aurantiaca is endemic to New Zealand. It was described by Cooke in 1879, based on two Berggren collections from Waitaki, South Island. It is known only from four New Zealand collections (type + 1 collection at Kew; 2 collections in PDD) from three widely separate sites: Piha, Auckland and Rimutaka Forest Park, Wellington on the North Island, and Waitaki district on the South Island near Oamaru and inland probably along the Waitaki river valley which runs from the Southern Alps to east coast. The species was last recorded in 1980.

Forest clearance and farming has probably destroyed the Waitaki site since Berggren’s collections in 1880s, and considerable conversion of forest to farmland has occurred in many parts of New Zealand since that time. The Wellington and Auckland sites are more likely to still have their overall habitat, but due to forest pathogens and other stressors, (e.g., invasive mammals) these habitats may be in decline. The potential habitat, soil under podocarps, occurs widely in forested areas throughout New Zealand.

Population and Trends

The species is known only from four New Zealand collections from three widely separate sites. It has extremely rarely been encountered and was last reported in 1980. Although recorded from three widely separated sites across New Zealand, the historical collection site in the South Island probably no longer occurs due to loss of habitat through farming, suggesting an early decline at some point after its description in 1880s. It has not been recorded since 1980 despite being conspicuous in colour (orange with off-white base, as illustrated for PDD 90442), and having been actively looked for by ascomycete specialist PR Johnston, the late gasteromycete expert RE Beever, and during annual fungal forays in appropriate habitats in many parts of the country. 

The reported habitat is soil under podocarps, which is a widely distributed vegetation type across New Zealand. While very rarely encountered, and not reported for the past 40 years, there are no data available to suggest that this species does not occur scattered across the country in very low numbers. This assessment is based on an assumption that there are up to 100 sites included undocumented ones, each with two distinct genets. Using the recommendation in Dahlberg and Mueller (2011), 2-3 mature individuals per genet are predicted, giving a total suspected population of up to 400-600 mature individuals. 

The loss of the dominant canopy tree, Agathis australis (Kauri), due to Kauri dieback disease (caused by Phytophthora agathadicida) in parts of the species' suspected range is driving forest changes which probably negatively impact population numbers of B. aurantiaca. Consumption by invasive mammals also may contribute to its population decline.

Population Trend: decreasing


Habitat and Ecology

The original description and information on the four museum collections provide little information on the species' habitat preference and ecology beyond that it has been found on soil in podocarp forests. This is a widely distributed vegetation type across New Zealand and without further information it is not possible to hypothesize why the species has been so rarely encountered or to provide insights to refine predictions on where it might be found.

Threats

The very limited information available on its habitat and ecology makes it very difficult to predict potential threats. However, the loss of the dominant canopy tree, Agathis australis (Kauri), due to Kauri dieback disease (caused by Phytophthora agathadicida) in parts of the species' suspected range is driving forest changes which probably negatively impact population numbers of B. aurantiaca. Additionally, possible consumption by invasive mammals also may contribute to its population decline.

Conservation Actions

There are no conservation actions currently in place beyond ongoing survey efforts to recollect the species. 

A fresh collection would enable DNA sequence matching to eDNA datasets which might provide information related to its distribution and ecology. The most recent specimen was collected in 1980 and is probably too old to yield sufficient quality DNA.

Use and Trade

The species is not utilized.

Source and Citation

Buchanan, P. 2019. Berggrenia aurantiaca. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T154635584A154635630. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-3.RLTS.T154635584A154635630.en .Downloaded on 30 January 2021

Country occurrence