Flammulina ononidis is a characteristic species of European thermophilous seminatural grasslands where it occurs as a saprotroph on roots or stem bases of Spiny Restharrow (Ononis spinosa). Suitable grassland habitats are extensively grazed (by cattle, horses, sheep, deer, etc.) or regularly hand mowed. According to present knowledge the species is distributed in 16 European countries. Its available habitats in Europe are increasingly threatened by the abandonment of traditional farming, intensification of agricultural practices, eutrophication and use of fertilizers and/or pesticides. Based on the estimated number of localities (max. 250) the inferred total population of this species in Europe is less than 2500 individuals. The estimated continuing decline in the number of mature individuals based on a decrease of habitat quality is at least 20% in 2 generations (30 years). This meets the threshold for EN C1.
Synonym: Flammulina velutipes (Curtis) Singer var. pratensis Schief.
Flammulina ononidis is distributed in 16 countries in Europe. It is a rare and characteristic species of thermophilous, semi-natural grasslands. These habitats are continuously declining in most European countries due to the abandonment of small-scale traditional farming. The existence of semi-natural grasslands depends on traditional agricultural practices that include grazing (by cattle, horses, sheep, deer, etc.) or regular hand mowing followed by sward removal.
Flammulina ononidis is distributed in 16 European countries. Its eastern distribution limits are not well known (Russia).
The species is currently reported in 16 European countries. GBIF database lists 38 species occurrences in total. There are less than 10 sites known in most countries (e.g. Austria 4, Croatia 2, Czech Republic 6, Poland 1, Slovakia 1) with the exception of Germany where approximately 40 sites have been reported. The number of localities (including possible undiscovered localities) is estimated at a maximum of 250. It is projected that populations consist of 10 mycelia on each site (Dahlberg & Mueller 2011) and the inferred total population in Europe is less than 2500 individuals. Many different types of grassland habitats are assessed as threatened in The European Red List of Habitats (Janssen et al. 2016). Flammulina ononidis host plant (Ononis spinosa) is currently IUCN-assessed as LC (Chadburn 2014) with a decreasing population trend due to permanent habitat loss and a decrease of habitat quality. The estimated continuing decline in the number of mature individuals based on a decrease in habitat quality is at least 20% in 2 generations. The species is included in four national fungal Red Lists in Europe (Austria - EN, Croatia - VU, Czech Republic - CR, Germany - EN).
Population Trend: Decreasing
Flammulina ononidis is a characteristic species of thermophilous, unimproved, semi-natural grasslands in Europe. It occurs as a saprotroph (Ripková & al. 2008) on roots or stem bases of Spiny Restharrow (Ononis spinosa). Suitable grasslands are those extensively managed by grazing (cattle, horses, sheep, deer, etc.) or regular hand mowing (once or twice a year) followed by sward removal. Modern management practices that include fertilization and pesticide application, together with eutrophication, have a strong negative impact on the quality of habitats needed for survival of this species.
The main threats to the existence of Flammulina ononidis are fragmentation, degradation and the disappearance of thermophilous seminatural grasslands inhabited with its host plant (Ononis spinosa) in Europe. Spiny Restharrow is currently IUCN-assessed as LC (Chadburn 2014) but with a decreasing population trend. Suitable semi-natural grasslands are characterized by low levels of available phosphorus and nitrogen in the soil. These habitats depend on traditional agricultural practices that include grazing (by cattle, horses, sheep, deer, etc.) or regular hand mowing (at least once a year) followed by sward removal.
The area covered by the semi-natural grasslands is continuously declining in most European countries due to the abandonment of small scale, low intensity farming. Abandoned grasslands frequently become overgrown by shrubs and woods, which dramatically changes the structure of native fungal community composition. Moreover, intensification of farming practices together with the increased use of fertilizers, pesticides and eutrophication have had a strong negative effect on fungal diversity of grassland habitats. In the 20th century, more than 90 % of semi-natural grasslands have been lost throughout Europe (EEA Report 3/2016) and currently around half of grassland habitats in Europe are threatened to some degree (Janssen et al. 2016).
Protection of known sites (with Flammulina ononidis and its host plant) and appropriate habitat management are the most important conservation measures. Grassland management should be based on traditional farming methods including extensive grazing (by cattle, horses, sheep, etc.) or regular hand mowing, at least once a year before the fruiting season, followed by sward removal. To protect valuable grassland mycobiota, financial stimulation to people in rural areas for the maintenance of the grasslands by extensive hand mowing and/or grazing should be introduced. Small-scale farming should be generally encouraged in order to preserve or restore semi-natural grasslands in Europe.
It is necessary to explore population size and exact distribution limits of this species.
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