Preliminary red-list assessment: EN B2ab(ii,iii) (Endangered)
Sporisorium glyphochloae is a host specific smut fungus in the inflorescences of Glyphochloa santapaui (Poaceae). It forms sori in all spikelets of the infected inflorescences, destroying the florets.
The host plant, Glyphochloa santapaui, is endemic to Maharashtra State (India) and has a very restricted distribution area. This species is known only from three localities. Two of them are situated in the Ratnagiri District – the type locality (localized only to district, Jain & Deshpande 1969) and Dapoli (Patil et al. 2004), and one locality is reported from Sindhudurg District (Lakshminarasimhan 1996). Glyphochloa santapaui in itself is included in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, assessed as VU D2 (Romand-Monnier 2013), as well as in the Red Data Book of Indian Plants (assessed as Rare, Nayar & Sastry 1987) and in the Checklist of endemic flowering plants of northern Western Ghats (as Endangered, Gaikwad 2014). The extent of occurrence of this species is 647 km2, within which the area of occupancy is 12 km2. In the IUCN Red List, this plant was assessed as Vulnerable taking into account that it grows in a region where the habitats are highly converted and fragmented. Considering the fragmented habitat and ongoing threats, it was found that the species could plausibly move to a highly threatened category or even become extinct in a short time and D2-criterion was applied, as the most appropriate (Romand-Monnier 2013).
The smut fungus, Sporisorium glyphochloae, is known only from one locality (Dapoli in Ratnagiri District) where it was collected in 1995 (Patil et al. 2004). In this locality, the natural habitats are highly fragmented. The smut fungus is threatened by human impacts. The marshy areas along the coast may be converted to Areca and Coconut plantations (Rawat et al. 2001; Romand-Monnier 2013). Additional threats include overgrazing and trampling by livestock, human settlements, and fires (Rawat et al. 2001; Romand-Monnier 2013). Considering its single locality and the area of occupancy (4 km2), as well as the presence of ongoing threats for the habitat of the host plant, S. glyphochloae fulfils VU D2. However, the fungus has more limited distribution, comparing with that of the host plant, and application of B-criterion and a rating of Endangered is appropriate.
Preliminary red-list assessment: EN B2ab(ii,iii) (Endangered)
This is an endangered parasitic fungal species on a vulnerable host plant that has a very restricted distribution area (a local endemic species). Sporisorium glyphochloae fulfills B-criterion using AOO (area of occupancy estimated not to exceed 12 km2) and meets EN B2, regarding subcriteria a (number of locations) and b (ii & iii) (continuing decline – observed, inferred or projected – in the area of occupancy, and in the area and quality of the habitat).
Sporisorium glyphochloae is known to date only from one Indian location (Maharashtra State, Ratnagiri District, Dapoli) (Patil et al. 2004; Vánky 2011).
There is no specific information on population size or trends. However, the host plant has very limited distribution and is restricted to an area subjected to ongoing threats: habitat conversion and fragmentation, overgrazing and trampling by livestock, human settlements, and fires.
Population Trend: Deteriorating
The sori of Sporisorium glyphochloae are developed in all spikelets of the infected inflorescences of Glyphochloa santapaui, destroying the florets. The fungus is host-specific and depends on its host plant.
Glyphochloa santapaui is an annual, small grass, with culms 10–20 cm high. This species grows on exposed marshy lateritic hill tops, and in open situations along coastal areas with Ischaemum indicum and Pulicaria angustifolia. The inferred altitude range is 0–200 m (Nayar & Sastry 1987; Romand-Monnier 2013). This plant is found within the Malabar Coast moist forests ecoregion (Rawat et al. 2001).
Sporisorium glyphochloae is threatened by habitat loss and degradation. Natural habitats within the Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts, where Glyphochloa santapaui grows, are highly converted and fragmented. Swamps and marshy areas along the coast may be converted to Areca and Coconut plantations (Rawat et al. 2001; Romand-Monnier 2013). Additional threats include overgrazing and trampling by livestock, human settlements, and fires (Rawat et al. 2001; Romand-Monnier 2013).
The only known locality of this smut fungus is not included in a protected area. Re-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 and distribution of the fungus.
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Romand-Monnier, F. 2013. Glyphochloa santapaui. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. http://www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 22 January 2015.
Rawat, G.S., Desai, A., Somanathan, H. and Wikramanayake, E.D. 2001. Malabar Coast Moist Forests (IM0124). Available at: http://worldwildlife.org/ecoregions/im0124.
Vánky, K. 2011. Smut Fungi of the World. APS Press, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA.
Denchev, C.M. & Denchev, T.T. 2015. Sporisorium glyphochloae A.R. Patil, T.M. Patil & M.S. Patil. In: The Global Fungal Red List Initiative. http://iucn.ekoo.se/iucn/species_view/357423/.