Anthracoidea ortegae is a host specific smut fungus which forms sori in ovaria of Carex caduca (Cyperaceae).
The host plant, Carex caduca, is distributed in Chile and Argentina – in southern Patagonia (including Tierra del Fuego) and the Falkland Islands; with isolated populations in Los Ríos and Los Lagos regions in Chile, and in Neuquén Province in Argentina (Moore 1968; Wheeler 1989; Moreno et al. 2013). In South America, the northern limit of this species lies at ca. 40° southern latitude.
The smut fungus, Anthracoidea ortegae, has considerably more restricted distribution, comparing with that of the host plant. It is known only from the Falkland Islands and Tierra del Fuego. Three localities are reported from the Falkland Islands: Darwin Harbour and Eliza Cove (East Falkland), and Channel Hill (West Falkland) (Denchev et al. 2010). In Tierra del Fuego, it occurs only near Ushuaia (Roivainen 1977).
Preliminary red-list assessment: VU B2ab(ii,iii,iv) (Vulnerable)
Anthracoidea ortegae fulfills B-criterion using AOO (area of occupancy estimated to be minimally 16 km2, based on the four known localities, and maximally less than 2000 km2, based on the distribution of the associated plant) and meets VU B2, regarding subcriteria a (number of locations) and b (ii, iii & iv) (continuing decline – observed, inferred or projected – in the area of occupancy, area, extent, and quality of the habitat, and number of locations or subpopulations). The smut fungus is threatened by human impacts. In Tierra del Fuego, the only known locality is in close proximity to Ushuaia (4 km from the city outskirts) and is threatened by habitat degradation. In the Falkland Islands, the localities are in wet areas beside creeks which are threatened by recreational activities and by sheep grazing that alter or destroy the habitats (cf. Upson 2012). A further study on the distribution of A. ortegae in Tierra del Fuego is recommended.
Anthracoidea ortegae is known to date only from the Falkland Islands and Tierra del Fuego. Three localities are reported from the Falkland Islands: Darwin Harbour and Eliza Cove (East Falkland), and Channel Hill (West Falkland) (Denchev et al. 2010). In Tierra del Fuego, it occurs only near Ushuaia (Baliza, 4 km SE from the city outskirts, Roivainen 1977).
Not enough information is available to permit comment on population levels.
Population Trend: Deteriorating
The sori of Anthracoidea ortegae are developed in ovaria of Carex caduca. The fungus is host-specific and depends on its host plant.
Carex caduca is a tufted plant with shortly creeping rhizomes and culms 6–28 cm high. This species grows in wet areas: beside streams and creeks, in wet depressions among tufts of grasses and wet mountain ledges (Moore 1968; Wheeler 1989).
The smut fungus is threatened by human impacts. In Tierra del Fuego, the only known locality is in close proximity to Ushuaia (at the end of the beacon trail, 4 km SE from the city outskirts), near a site which is a tourist attraction. If further locations were to be found in Tierra del Fuego, it is likely they would be in the northeast of the island, where the main distribution of the associated plant occurs, and in that part trampling by cattle is a known ongoing threat. In the Falkland Islands, the localities are in wet areas beside creeks which are threatened by recreational activities and by sheep grazing that alter or destroy the habitats (cf. Upson 2012).
The known localities of this smut fungus are not included in protected areas. Assessment and conservation of the host plant is needed. Ex situ conservation of the plant will not necessarily protect the fungus: in situ conservation is needed.
Further information is needed about population levels of A. ortegae. A further study on the distribution of this fungus in Tierra del Fuego is recommended.
Denchev, C.M., Denchev, T.T., Spooner, B.M. and Helfer, S. 2010. New records of smut fungi. 3. Mycotaxon 114: 225–230.
McAdam, J. and Broughton, D. 2011. The current status of and threats to the vascular flora of the Falkland Islands, South Atlantic. Anales Instituto Patagonia (Chile) 39: 103–108.
Moore, D.M. 1968. The vascular flora of the Falkland Islands. British Antarctic Survey, Scientific Reports 60: 1–202.
Moreno, R., Le Quesne, C., Díaz, I. and Rodríguez, R. 2013. Flora vascular del Parque Futangue, Región de Los Ríos (Chile). Gayana Botanica 70: 121–135.
Roivainen, H. 1977. Resultados micologicos de la expedición a Argentina y Chile en 1969–1970. Karstenia 17: 1–18.
Upson, R. 2012. Important Plant Areas of the Falkland Islands. Falklands Conservation, Stanley.
Vánky, K. 2011. Smut Fungi of the World. APS Press, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA.
Wheeler, G.A. 1989. The taxonomy of Carex sect. Aciculares (Cyperaceae) in South America. Systematic Botany 14: 168–188.
Denchev, C.M. & Denchev, T.T. 2015. Anthracoidea ortegae Kukkonen. In: The Global Fungal Red List Initiative. http://iucn.ekoo.se/iucn/species_view/308761/.