- Scientific name
- Cordyceps hauturu
- Common names
- IUCN Specialist Group
- Cup-fungi, Truffles and Allies
- Assessment status
- Assessment date
- IUCN Red List Category
- Buchanan, P.
- Cooper, J.A.
This species is only known from five collections, but so little is known about its ecological requirements (i.e. obligate host species) that it is not possible to estimate its population size or trends with any degree of certainty. It is therefore assessed as Data Deficient. Further research is urgently needed.
is a New Zealand endemic insect parasite, described in 1953 by Joan Dingley, an experienced mycologist who noted its distinction from the superficially similar and more common Ophiocordyceps robertsii
. The latter species, known to Māori as āwheto, was collected and burnt to produce a black pigment for tattooing. Possibly, C. hauturu
was used for the same purpose.
Apart from the holotype and a second specimen included in the protologue (both from the Auckland region), no other specimens were identified under this name until recently. In 2019, three additional specimens (one predating the holotype) were distinguished by macromorphology by Peter R. Johnston from among 55 Fungarium PDD specimens of O. robertsii
and 107 specimens of Cordyceps
species. O. robertsii
has discrete perithecia, while those of C. hauturu
are more immersed and somewhat stromatic.
This species is endemic to New Zealand. The five collections known are geographically widely dispersed in both North and South Islands. The identity of the hepialid moth host(s) has not been investigated. It is not known whether the widespread distribution of Cordyceps hauturu
reflects the sporadic distribution of one (or more) host species.
Population and Trends
Its population size and trend are unknown, but as a parasite it is likely to be following the trend of its host hepialid moth species. One of its potential host species (Heloxycanus patricki) is assessed as At Risk - Declining, according to the New Zealand Threat Classification System (Hoare et al. 2017). There are fewer sightings of this Cordyceps species than the related Ophiocordyceps robertsii.
Population Trend: unknown
Habitat and Ecology
This species is obligately parasitic on caterpillar larvae of one or more species of native hepialid moth, producing its aerial fruitbody from buried mummified caterpillars. It is known from podocarp/broadleaf temperate forest.
It is vulnerable to decline of native hepialid moth species, but this is unknown pending identification of the host(s).
It might become vulnerable if commercial harvesting initiatives (currently under consideration in New Zealand involving Asian partnerships) target this species in preference to the less uncommon Ophiocordyceps robertsii
Now that recently collected (2014, 2015) specimens of Cordyceps hauturu
have been distinguished from fungarium material filed as Cordyceps
sp. and Ophiocordyceps robertsii
, phylogenetic relationships can be determined. Identification of the hepialid host(s) is a priority in order to better predict the distribution of C. hauturu
and to evaluate any threats to the host and hence to its obligate parasite.
Use and Trade
The potential of this species for medicinal or nutraceutical use has not been considered, compared to major over-exploitation of Ophiocordyceps sinensis
, and interest locally and from abroad to therapeutic use of Ophiocordyceps
species. Cordyceps hauturu
could be under threat if found to have applied use.
Source and Citation
Buchanan, P. 2019. Cordyceps hauturu. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T154811245A154811312. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-3.RLTS.T154811245A154811312.en
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