This fungus is one of the few readily recognizable Ascomycetes in Queensland and has a well defined distribution. The warming climate and increased risk of fire clearly present future risks for the species.
There are some 20 records of the fungus from 4 distinct locations, two each in New South Wales and Queensland. The distribution of the fungus host has been well defined and with think it highly unlikely that there will be any new sites discovered for it.
Using the Dahlberg & Mueller (2011) methodology we think that it would be reasonable to expect the population to be perhaps 10 times greater, that is 200 mature individuals. The species would qualify as Endangered on account of its restricted geographic range B2 a & b and its small population D1.
See Herbert, D.A. (1930). Cyttaria septentrionalis
Cyttaria septentrionalis is readily recognizable rounded orange fruiting body that usually appears in early spring in the canopy of the Antarctic beech trees, Nothofagus moorei in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales. Unlike other Cyttaria species that often have multiple host parasite relationships, C. septentrionalis has a one to one relationship with its host (Peterson 2017). The host, N. moorei is restricted to mountain tops from Queensland’s southern border at Springbrook and Lamington to the Barrington Tops plateau in Northern New South Wales. The Antarctic beech is thought to have had a much wider distribution in the past but has retreated up the mountains as the climate has warmed. It is prefers a cold climate with some winter snowfall and it does not tolerate burning.
Follows the distribution of its host, Nothofagus moorei, in Southern Queensland and Northern New South Wales.
Cyttaria septentrionalis is a weak parasite on the branches of Nothofagus moorei on land above 800 metres altitude in South-east Queensland and Northern New South Wales.
The main threats to this species are clearly defined, the warming climate that threatens its host and the increasing risk of fire as evidenced by rainforest fires in Queensland in 2018.
Recognition of the fungus in the National Park Management plans would be desirable. No additional action would be required beyond that taken to safeguard its host.
Cyttaria septentrionalis produces copious nectar in the spring and it is thought this may be an important food source for some insects and possibly nectar eating birds species. Observational evidence would be helpful,
Accad, A., Neldner, V.J., Kelley, J.A.R., Li, J. and Richter, D. (2019). Remnant Regional Ecosystem Vegetation in Queensland, Analysis 1997-2017. Queensland Department of Environment and Science: Brisbane.
Atlas of living Australia (2019). https://biocache.ala.org.au/occurrences/search?
Coger, H., Ford, H, Johnson, C.’ Holman, J. & Butler D. (2003). Impacts of Land Clearing on Wildlife in Queensland. World Wildlife Fund.
Dahlberg A. and Mueller G.M. (2011) Applying IUCN red-listing criteria for assessing and reporting on the conservation status of fungal species. Fungal Ecology 4: 147-162.
Geospatial Conservation Assessment Tool: geocat.kew.org
Global Biodiversity Information Facility: gbif.org
Herbert, D.A. (1930). Cyttaria septentrionalis, a new fungus attacking Nothofagus moorei in Queensland and New South Wales. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland. 41:158-161
Neldner, V.J., M.J. Laidlaw, K.R. McDonald, M.T. Mathieson, R.I. Melzer, R. Seaton, W.J. F. McDonald, R. Hobson, and C.J. Limpus (2017). Scientific review of the impacts of land clearing on threatened species in Queensland. Queensland Government, Brisbane.
Peterson K.R., Pfister D.H. & Bell C.D. (2017) Cophylogeny and biogeography of the fungal parasite Cyttaria and its host Nothofagus, southern beech. Mycologia 102 6: 1417-1425.
Rawlings G.B. (1955). Australasian Cyttariaceae. Transactions of the Royal Society of new Zealand. 84: 19 - 28.
Young T. (2000) Common Australian Fungi - A Bushwalker’s guide. University of New South Wales Press.