Bovista sclerocystis is a species only known to develop in tropical rain forests in Chiapas, southern Mexico and also from tropical forests of Costa Rica, near the frontier with Panamá. In Mexico the area of distribution of the species has been changed to cropping and cattle lands. Even when already exists an exhaustive research of Bovista genus in Mexico, there has been no more reports in Mexico (Bautista-Hernández et al., 2011). Tropical rain forests In Mexico have lost 50% of its coverture in the last 50 years so the habitat is severely threatened.
Bovista sclerocystis should be listed as Vulnerable under the criterion C1 as the number of known localities is only two with no more than 100 individuals each. Even if 100 subpopulations would exist in the rest of unsampled central America, the entire population would be less than 10000. The habitat of Bovista sclerocystis (tropical forests) have decreased 50% in the last 50 years and will decline at least 30% in the next 50 years.
Bovista sclerocystis most striking character is the ochraceous-brown exoperidium composed of polymorphous mycosclereids, a unique character among all Bovista species. The fruit-body is globose, with ramified whitish rhizomorphs, and the endoperidium is thin, papery, ochraceous to brownish, dull to slightly shining, with an apical aperture of irregular outline. Bovista sclerocystis is similar to B. septina known from Ecuador and Venezuela, wich is distinguished by having a compact subgleba, larger fruit bodies with darker gleba (chocolate-black), larger and more distinctly ornamented spores, with cylindrical warts, and by its habitat at elevations from 4000–4500 m. Bovista abyssinica also is similar to B. sclerocystis but has a compact subgleba, olive brown capillitium without pores and pseudosepta but with spiny exoperidium without mycosclereids, growing on high mountains of tropical Africa (Calonge et al., 2004).
Bovista sclerocystis is only known to develop in two regions including Chiapas state in Mexico (Calonge et al., 2004) and in Costa Rica (Calonge et al. 2005). The genus Bovista has been extensively reviewed in Mexico by Bautista-Hernández et al. (2011). Beside this, any additional records of the species have been found. This species is associated with tropical forests, which are threatened mainly by climate change, deforestation, and changes in land use. Bovista sclerocystis should be protected because of its limited distribution and apparently rare occurrence.
Known only from tropical rain forests in Mexico and in Costa Rica near to the frontier with Panama.
There are only two known subpopulations from two different localities. In Mexico, the only known record comes from the Natural Park “El Ocote”, Ocozocoautla municipality, in Chiapas state. The record from Costa Rica comes from the conservation area “La Amistad-Pacifico”, which covers the major part of the Cordillera de Talamanca, near the frontier with Panama (Calonge et al., 2004, 2005) but according to GBIF (2018), the geographical coordinate where B. sclerocystis was harvested is actually outside the Natural Park Territory.
Population Trend: Uncertain
In Mexico Bovista sclerocystis grows in tropical rainforests, with a vegetation that includes more than 60 plant species described for the Natural Park “El Ocote”, according to Maldonado et al. (2001). Also is reported growing on soil woody debris in tropical Quercus forests in Costa Rica (Calonge et al., 2005).
In Mexico: Globally, the proportion of Mexico covered by tropical forests has reduced from 26.1% in 1970 to 16.1% in 2008 (11.1 million ha of closed forests and 20.5 million ha of secondary forest (Challenger & Soberón 2008).
Regionally, in the Chiapas part of the Mesoamerican corridor has been a 30% loss of closed tropical forests in the last 15 years. In this region, the land use change scenarios project a drastic change in the extent of tropical forests with a reduction of 20% - 40% (conservative - pesimistic scenarios) in the next 15 years (Ramírez-Mejía et al 2017).
Locally, even when some parts of El Ocote Reserve, have an optimal natural condition (Ramírez-Marcial et al., 2017), it has been pointed out that fire, is one of the main threats of this area (Maldonado et al., 2001), which could affect the habitat of Bovista sclerocystis. Also in the northern areas of El Ocote there has been changes in land use particularly to convert forest areas to cropping and cattle.
In Costa Rica, threats to natural tropical rain forests are not as severe than in Mexico due to a good national conservation pollicy.
Both localities where this species has been reported are included in National Park territories. In Mexico, until 2001, there were only 30 fungal species listed from Biosphere Reserve “El Ocote” (CONANP-SEMARNAT, 2001) but no Bovista species were included.
One of the main needs is to sequence and conduct a phylogenetic analysis of the dried specimens to know if the populations from Chiapas are the same species of Costa Rica. If both represent the same species, then it will be necessary to increase the sampling effort, particularly in central America to elucidate if their actual distribution is constrained by the absence of records, or if it represents a possible disjunct distribution pattern.
There are not reports about edibility or use of this species.
Bautista-Hernández, S., Herrera, T., Aguirre-Acosta, E., & Esqueda, M. (2011). Contribution to the taxonomy of Bovista in Mexico. Mycotaxon, 118(1), 27-46.
Calonge, F. D., Kreisel, H., & Guzmán, G. (2004). Bovista sclerocystis, a new species from Mexico. Mycologia, 96(5), 1152-1154.
Calonge, F. D., Mata, M., & Carranza, J. (2005). Contribución al catálogo de los gasteromycetes (Basidiomycotina, Fungi) de Costa Rica. In Anales del Jardín Botánico de Madrid (Vol. 62, No. 1). Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas.
Challenger A, Soberón J. (2008). Los ecosistemas terrestres. In: Capital natural de México, vol. I: Conocimiento
actual de la biodiversidad. México: CONABIO, 87-108.
CONANP-SEMARNAT. (2001). Programa de Manejo de la Reserva de la Biósfera Selva El Ocote. Ocozocoautla de Espinosa, Chiapas, México. Secretaría del Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales.
GBIF.org (18th February 2018) GBIF Occurrence Download https://doi.org/10.15468/dl.09kimz
Maldonado Méndez, M. D. L., Rodríguez Trejo, D. A., Guízar Nolazco, E., Velázquez Martínez, J., & Náñez Jiménez, S. (2009). Reducción en riqueza de especies arbóreas por incendios en la Reserva Selva El Ocote, Chiapas. Ciencia forestal en México, 34(106), 127-148.
Ramírez-Marcial, N., Martínez-Icó, M., Luna Gómez, A., Buet, C., & Taylor Aquino, N. E. (2017). Diversidad local y regional de árboles en la Reserva de la Biósfera Selva El Ocote, Chiapas. Vulnerabilidad social y biológica en la Reserva de la Biosfera Selva El Ocote. Chiapas, México: El Colegio de la Frontera Sur.
Ramírez-Mejía, D., Cuevas, G., Meli, P., & Mendoza, E. (2017). Land use and cover change scenarios in the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor-Chiapas, México. Botanical Sciences, 95(2), 221-234.