Phallus glutinolens is a species endemic to Brazil, occurring in fragments of Atlantic Forest in southern and southeastern regions. Up to date, there are only a few records of the species from six different sites. The total population is estimated at around 4,800 mature individuals, in one subpopulation. Based on the habitat decline within the area, we suspect a population decline around 10% in the last three generations (20 years). Phallus glutinolens is, therefore, assessed as Vulnerable VU C1+2a(ii).
Phallus glutinolens (Möller) Kuntze was first described by Möller (1895) in the genus Ithyphallus Gray, a genus erected to accommodate phalloid species without indusium (veil). In 1898, the species was combined to the genus Phallus Junius ex L. by Kuntze. An emendation for the species was published by Trierveiler-Pereira et al. (2009) to add morphological data of mature basidiomata. Other synonyms than Ithyphallus glutinolens Möller are not known.
Phallus glutinolens is a rare, endemic species from Southern and Southeastern Brazil, occurring in some preserved fragments of Atlantic Forest, one of the Earth’s biodiversity hotspots with high levels of diversity and endemism.
Phallus glutinolens was first discovered in the Atlantic Forest of Santa Catarina (Möller, 1895). Many years later, the species was found in the State of Rio Grande do Sul (Braun, 1932; Rick, 1961). More recently, the species was found again in Santa Catarina (Trierveiler-Pereira et al., 2009; 2019; speciesLink, 2021) and later, for the first time, it was reported from Southeastern Brazil (Fernandes et al., 2021). The species is expected to occur in fragments of Dense Ombrophilous Forest in Southern and Southeastern Brazil.
Records from Argentina, Tucumán province (Wright, 1960), are probably misidentifications, since the specimens described have a particular habitat and ecology (growing among grass in open fields) which more closely resembles the habitat described for members of Itajahya Möller (Hernandez Caffot et al., 2018).
There are eight collections of the species from six different sites. It is likely a rare species, and it is expected to only occur along the Atlantic Forest in the Dense Ombrophilous Forest in Southern and Southeastern Brazil. We estimate that there are up to 400 additional potential sites. This gives a total population estimate of around 4,800 mature individuals, restricted to one subpopulation.
The Atlantic Forest has been deforested over decades, and the remaining fragments are suffering from biomass and biodiversity erosion. The Atlantic Forest is one of the most fragmented tropical/subtropical forests in the world, and only around 28% percent of the original forest in Brazil is left, much of it in small, unconnected fragments (Rezende et al., 2018).
Population decline was estimated in light of extensive loss of suitable habitat (Rezende et al., 2018) and the putative influence that habitat degradation has on species occupation in a given environment (Berglund & Jonsson, 2003; Haddad et al., 2015). Based on this information, we precautionarily assume there has been a habitat loss of at least 10% within the past three generations (20 years) and that this also equates to a population decline of the fungus of at least 10% or more within this timeframe.
Population Trend: Decreasing
Phallus glutinolens is a saprotrophic species that grows on wood debris or litterfall, inside preserved forest areas. It has a sweet smell when fresh and a tarlike smell when dry (Trierveiler-Pereira et al., 2009). In Brazil, it is characteristic of the Atlantic Forest, with all records from Ombrophilous Dense Forest near the coast (up to 80 km distant from the coast). The species is not difficult to recognize in the field, being highly detectable since its light-colored basidiomes contrast with the litterfall and having a characteristic smell (Trierveiler-Pereira et al., 2009). Since the species occurs in wood debris or litterfall, we estimate that three generations = 20 years.
Phallus glutinolens is directly impacted by Atlantic Forest Biome threats, which has been losing its biodiversity along the time. Only 28% of its natural coverage remains, becoming an extremely patchy ecosystem and secondary forests (Tabarelli et al. 2010, Rezende et al. 2018).
The threats involve urbanization, industrial and silvicultural centers that lead to the pollution (Galindo & Câmara, 2003). Furthermore, there is a great illegal timber extraction and intensive land use, contributing to Atlantic forest deterioration and inhabiting species decay.
The main action to preserve the species is the protection of its habitat and creation of new conservation areas to harbor the probable microhabitats to which the Atlantic Forest may be restricted in the future. The preservation of pristine forests could be critical for the maintenance of this species, since it has only been found in preserved areas. Also, forest protection policies must be taken to assure that the protected Atlantic Forest areas reach a mature state.
More studies are necessary to better understand the species distribution and ecology and population trends.
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