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Anthracoidea andina (Kukkonen) Vánky

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Scientific name
Anthracoidea andina
Author
(Kukkonen) Vánky
Common names
 
IUCN Specialist Group
Rust and Smut
Kingdom
Fungi
Phylum
Basidiomycota
Class
Ustilaginomycetes
Order
Ustilaginales
Family
Anthracoideaceae
Assessment status
Published
Assessment date
2017-11-17
IUCN Red List Category
VU
IUCN Red List Criteria
B2ab(ii,iii)
Assessors
Denchev, C.M. & Denchev, T.T.
Reviewers
Dahlberg, A.

Assessment Notes

The content on this page is fetched from The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/73643293/73643851

Justification

Anthracoidea andina is a host specific smut fungus which forms sori in ovaria of Schoenus andinus (Cyperaceae). The fungus is fully dependent on its host plant for its existence and inevitably more rare than its host plant. The host plant occurs in Chile and Argentina – in central Chile and Patagonia (including Tierra del Fuego and the Cape Horn Archipelago).

The smut fungus, A. andina, is endemic to Tierra del Fuego and is only found near Fontaine River (a river which flows into Almirantazgo Fjord) and near Lake Escondido. The first site is west of Lake Fagnano while the second one is south of Lake Fagnano. The distance between them is about 74 km.

In both sites, Schoenus andinus grows in wetlands mostly or largely occupied by peat-forming plant communities. These wetlands are threatened by peat mining, urban development, road construction, recreational activities, overgrazing, and Canadian Beaver invasion.

Cattle ranching is an important economic activity in the northern and central regions of Tierra del Fuego and most of the fens are still used for hay production. The damaging impact of free-roaming cattle on the mires is conspicuous and needs urgent attention. Many calcareous fens have been degraded by cattle that trample the vegetated top layer. Increase of livestock grazing in Tierra del Fuego may increase nutrient deposition, and this may be especially significant for the extremely nutrient-poor bogs and fens.

Twenty-five pairs of beavers were introduced to Tierra del Fuego in 1946 and since then the population has expanded. In 2000, this population was estimated to be 100,000 animals, by 2008 it was 200,000, and in 2010, 250,000, which have a large impact on the landscape. Damming of watercourses by beavers may flood parts of a mire, increase water storage on the mire surface or raise the water level in the mire. Beavers also drain mires and pools by excavating channels to facilitate their own movements, and bursting of their dams may initiate erosion events that substantially lower the drainage base. Both flooding and drainage arising from beaver activity generate rapid changes in local hydrology and vegetation. In view of the high rates of beaver colonization, the cumulative changes could be very substantial and, given that beaver ponds are often abandoned, it is anticipated that this will have a desiccating effect in the long term .

Anthracoidea andina is a rare parasitic fungus. It fulfils B-criterion using AOO (area of occupancy estimated to be minimally 8 km2, based on the two known sites, and maximally less than 2,000 km2, based on the distribution of the associated plant) and meets VU B2, regarding subcriteria a (number of locations is two based on the known sites, and whilst it probably also occurs in other as yet unknown sites the total number is not likely to exceed 10) and b (ii and iii) (continuing decline – inferred – in the area of occupancy and the area, extent, and quality of the habitat).



Geographic range

Anthracoidea andina is endemic to Tierra del Fuego and is only found near Fontaine River (a river which flows into Almirantazgo Fjord, Chile; Denchev et al. 2015) and near Lake Escondido, Argentina (Roivainen 1977). The first site is west of Lake Fagnano while the second one is south of Lake Fagnano. The distance between the two localities is about 74 km.

Population and Trends

Anthracoidea andina has only been recorded from two sites. There is no specific information on population size and trends. However, the host plant has a limited distribution within an area considered to be subjected to the Canadian Beaver invasion, cattle grazing and trampling, and peat mining that alter or destroy the habitats.

Population Trend: decreasing


Habitat and Ecology

The sori of Anthracoidea andina are developed in ovaria of Schoenus andinus. The fungus is host-specific and depends on its host plant.

In both sites where A. andina has been recorded, S. andinus grows in wetlands mostly or largely occupied by peat-forming plant communities.

Threats

The plant communities where Anthracoidea andina is recorded, are threatened by peat mining, urban development, road construction, recreational activities, overgrazing, and Canadian Beaver invasion (Iturraspe and Urciuolo 2004; Grootjans et al. 2010, 2014).

Cattle ranching is an important economic activity in the northern and central regions of Tierra del Fuego and most of the fens are still used for hay production. The damaging impact of free-roaming cattle on the mires is conspicuous and needs urgent attention. Many calcareous fens have been degraded by cattle that trample the vegetated top layer. Increase of livestock grazing in Tierra del Fuego may increase nutrient deposition, and this may be especially significant for the extremely nutrient-poor bogs and fens (Grootjans et al. 2014).

Additionally, these plant communities are threatened by the invasion of the Canadian Beaver (Castor canadensis). Twenty-five pairs of beavers were introduced to Tierra del Fuego in 1946 and since then the population has expanded. In 2000, this population was estimated to be 100,000 animals, by 2008 it was 200,000, and in 2010, 250,000 (Lizarralde et al. 2004, Jernelöv 2017), which have a large impact on the landscape. Damming of watercourses by beavers may flood parts of a mire, increase water storage on the mire surface or raise the water level in the mire. Beavers also drain mires and pools by excavating channels to facilitate their own movements, and bursting of their dams may initiate erosion events that substantially lower the drainage base. Both flooding and drainage arising from beaver activity generate rapid changes in local hydrology and vegetation. In view of the high rates of beaver colonization, the cumulative changes could be very substantial and, given that beaver ponds are often abandoned, it is anticipated that this will have a desiccating effect in the long term (Grootjans et al. 2014).

Conservation Actions

The known sites of this smut fungus are not in any protected areas. A Red List assessment of the host plant is needed. Ex situ conservation of the plant will not necessarily protect the fungus: in situ conservation is needed.

Source and Citation

Denchev, C.M. & Denchev, T.T. 2019. Anthracoidea andina. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T73643293A73643851. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-1.RLTS.T73643293A73643851.en .Downloaded on 1 February 2021

Country occurrence