Restricted population with an estimate of 120 mature individuals
Gigsperma cryptica (now Cortinarius crypticus) is a relatively white small truffle-like species ectomyorrhizal with southern beech (Nothofagaceaea). It is recognised due to the contrasting marbled gleba, an odour of garlic, and very large spores (to 36um long). The species is sequence barcoded and phylogenetically well characterised. Truffle-like species have been extensively surveyed in New Zealand for over 50 years.
Why suggested for a Global Red List Assessment?
A distinctive white truffle ectomycorrizal with Nothofagaceae and under threat from the limited distribution combined with potential loss/decline of dispersal vector.
Preliminary Category: Endangered. B2 AOO <500km2, or Critically Endangered C1, or Critically Endangered D1
Population and Trends
The species is known from 3 records in 3 locations over a 50 year period. We infer the presence of 3 genotypes, x 8 to account for undetected colonies, x 5 to convert to an estimate of 120 mature individuals. The decline and loss of associated dispersal agents will impact on populations. Extent of Occurrence 1,800 km2, Area of Occupancy 12 km2
Habitat and Ecology
This truffle-like species is an ectomyorrhizal associate of southern beech (Nothofagaceae). Like many New Zealand truffle species, it is visibly noticeable and grows on the surface of the soil layer. These characters are thought to be adaptations to dispersal by animal vectors (the spores do not naturally disperse). Elsewhere truffles are buried, dull-coloured and dispersed by mammals. In New Zealand, without any native mammals (except 2 species of bat) the role is thought to be take by ground-dwelling birds, which are either extinct (Moa) or in serious decline (Kiwi, Kakapo etc).
It is likely the natural dispersal agent for this species is either extinct or in decline and thus the current populations are limited and sensitive to change.
The potential role of replacement dispersal agents (e.g. introduced rats, possums etc) is unknown. The long-term survival of current populations without active dispersal is unknown.