Amanita pumatona is a striking species but few people have ever seen it and it is not easy to identify it with certainity. Both its subpopulations have been subject to continuing scrutiny by experienced mycologists over the past half century. The species has not been seen at its North Island site for some 30 years. It has recently been seen at Totaranui in the Abel Tasman National Park, but not at other sites where N. truncata is known to occur. There is one other forest in Taranaki that holds good stands of N. truncata but this fungus has not been found there either.
Using Dahlberg and Mueller’s method and using the seven observed individuals we have estimated the population as 10 functional individuals each representing two mature individuals, that is 20 mature individuals at each known site and we have allowed for two as yet undiscovered sites. That yields and estimated population of 80 at four sites and potentially three subpopulations. The sites are heavily used for recreation and feral animals are changing their ecology. On this basis we consider the species as endangered under B1, B2a & b and D1.
Amanita pumatona G.S. Ridl. (1991)
Proposed by Pat Leonard. Known from 6 records from 2 locations. Extent of Occurrence 19.151 km2 Area of Occupancy 12.000 km2
Restricted to the South of North Island and the northwest of South Island.
Only seven individuals have been observed and there have been no recent records in the original North Island site.
This is a mycorrhizal fungus which appears to be associated with Nothofagus truncata. Both subpopulations occur in forested areas that contain other Nothofagus species and Kunzea and Leptospermum so the one to one association with N. truncata is not certain. In both areas the forest has strong maritime influences and is not subject to prolonged frosts, both also have medium rainfall.
This fungus occurs in the Rimutaka Forest Park in North Island and the Abel Tasman National Park in South Island. Both are protected from clearance of its habitat and its host tree. However changes are taking place in the habitat. Both sites are subject to high recreational pressure. In the Rimutakas the pressure comes in the form of visitors from nearby Wellington, In the Abel Tasman it largely comes from increasingly large numbers of tourists walking the Abel Tasman Track. Disturbance, trampling and nutrient enrichment all have an effect on the habitat and there may be more direct damage to the fungus due to visitors being unaware of its presence.
Both areas have populations of feral animals, deer and wild pigs. Pigs are known to consume fungi, deer browse the understory and may change the species composition of the forest.
This fungus is not currently protected.Recognizing it in Park plans would go some way towards safeguarding its future.
Clarifying the mycorrhizal host for A. pumatona would be helpful in focusing conservation efforts.
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
Ridley, G.S. (1991): The New Zealand species of Amanita (Fungi: Agaricales). Australian Systematic Botany 4(2): 325-354