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Echinodontium ryvardenii Bernicchia & Piga

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Scientific name
Echinodontium ryvardenii
Author
Bernicchia & Piga
Common names
 
IUCN Specialist Group
Mushroom, Bracket and Puffball
Kingdom
Fungi
Phylum
Basidiomycota
Class
Agaricomycetes
Order
Russulales
Family
Echinodontiaceae
Assessment status
Published
Assessment date
2019-03-29
IUCN Red List Category
EN
IUCN Red List Criteria
C2a(i)
Assessors
Bernicchia, A., Ainsworth, A.M. & Perini, C.
Reviewers
Mešić, A.

Assessment Notes

The content on this page is fetched from The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/70414223/148638543

Justification

This is a wood-inhabiting tooth fungus forming highly distinctive and conspicuous basidiomata on trunks and large branches of old (“pluricentenari”) live standing Juniperus phoenicea and J. macrocarpa trees in Italy (Sardinia).

It requires very old trees to fruit. The habitat, arborescent matorral (code 5210) (Natura2000) is in danger of disappearing. Moreover old juniper shrubs or trees, the preferred substrate for the growth of the fungus, are threatened and declining. It has been suggested that such Mediterranean veteran juniper habitat represents a glacial refugium and this habitat supports an entire suite of fungi with highly restricted distributions (Bernicchia et al. 2011).

Although there are only 3 small areas with fruitbodies known worldwide, there is uncertainty about the extent of its true distribution. The number of mature individuals is estimated not to exceed 600, with no more than 250 mature individuals in the largest subpopulation. A continuing decline is inferred based on the reduction in number of old trees on which it can grow. It therefore qualifies as EN C2a(i).

Taxonomic notes

Sequencing for AFTOL project shows it is not closely related to the type of the genus (Larsson & Larsson 2003). It is expected that it will be transferred to another genus but this has no bearing on its conservation status.

Geographic range

The first collection was made in 1997 and the species was described in 1998, but by 2005 (Bernicchia 2005) there were apparently still only three records known worldwide (and two collections preserved) and all were from sites in Sardinia (Capo Comino, Lanaittu Valley and Portixeddu). A few more recent finds have been made in the Lanaittu/Tiscali area of Sardinia (Bernicchia et al. 2011 and pers. obs.); perhaps 25 occupied trees are known. There are no records reported outside Italy, but it may have further localities in Europe, North Africa or the Middle East.

Population and Trends

The Sardinian populations are: Capo Comino (Nuoro) on a Juniperus phoenicea trunk in dunes where Bernicchia (pers. obs.) has tried to refind it but the old trunk has been cut; Lanaittu Valley (Nuoro) at 180 m altitude from 1997 onwards on old trunks of J. phoenicea, where no more than 5-6 occupied trees seen and no more than 10 estimated in the area (Bernicchia pers. obs.); Portixeddu (Cagliari) on an old trunk of J. macrocarpa in 1999 (site not revisited by Bernicchia). It is expected that one genet occurs within most occupied trees and it is hypothesised that the fungus is long-lived. The associated tree is not of conservation concern although it should be emphasized that it is only the very oldest trees that support fruiting populations of this fungus. Based on the documented collections in Bernicchia et al. (2011), it seems that currently there are no more than 15 known occupied trees worldwide although clearly not all suitable habitat has been surveyed. It is expected that there are four mature individuals (two genets and two ramets per genet) per occupied tree, giving a total of 60 in the known localities. Taking into account the large likelihood of many as yet unknown localities, this is multiplied by ten to give a total of 600 mature individuals.

Population Trend: unknown


Habitat and Ecology

The species fruits on trunks and large branches of old (“pluricentenari”) live standing Juniperus phoenicea and, to a lesser degree, J. macrocarpa trees. Despite fruiting on living trees, this species is expected to be mainly or exclusively associated with dead parts of the tree. It has been suggested that such Mediterranean veteran juniper habitat represents a glacial refugium and this habitat supports an entire suite of fungi with highly restricted distributions (Bernicchia et al. 2011).

Threats

The major threat is loss of “pluricentenari” trees of Juniperus phoenicea and J. macrocarpa. These are frequently cut for many purposes such as firewood and for making items such as fireplaces and sheepfolds.

Conservation Actions

Site protection is required for all the remaining populations of this fungus. Younger Juniperus trees at known sites should be allowed to reach old age and die in situ to maximise the likelihood that E. ryvardenii will persist as an extant species and colonize new sites.

Source and Citation

Bernicchia, A., Ainsworth, A.M. & Perini, C. 2019. Echinodontium ryvardenii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T70414223A148638543. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-2.RLTS.T70414223A148638543.en .Downloaded on 31 January 2021

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