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Macrolepiota eucharis Vellinga & Halling

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Scientific name
Macrolepiota eucharis
Author
Vellinga & Halling
Common names
 
IUCN Specialist Group
Mushroom, Bracket and Puffball
Kingdom
Fungi
Phylum
Basidiomycota
Class
Agaricomycetes
Order
Agaricales
Family
Agaricaceae
Assessment status
Published
Assessment date
2019-07-24
IUCN Red List Category
VU
IUCN Red List Criteria
C1
Assessors
Leonard, P.L.
Reviewers
Guard, F.

Assessment Notes

The content on this page is fetched from The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/154528917/154528944

Justification

Macrolepiota eucharis is a distinctive species, relatively easy to identify in the field. Its very dark squamules and stipe distinguish it from other Macrolepiotas.

The habitat in which this species is found has declined rapidly as it is much in demand for beef farming and for development in coastal areas. The sites in which these collections have been made have been damaged by fire and are grazed by feral animals including deer and pigs which are understood to consume Macrolepiota species.

It is assessed as Vulnerable C1 based on its small population size (estimated as 4500-9000 mature individuals) with an ongoing decline of at least 10% within three generations.

Geographic range

This species is known from two places 80 km apart in the wet tropics (around 430 m and 800 m asl) and from a site approximately 1500 km south in the Rainbow Beach section of the Great Sandy National Park (around 140 m asl).

Population and Trends

The collection of data on the distribution and population of fungi in Queensland was almost wholly dependant on the work of the staff at the Queensland herbarium until 1995. The herbarium currently holds 5200 fungal specimens accumulated over 150 years. Recording has undergone considerable change in the past 25 years. The foundation of Fungimap in 1995 engaged citizen scientists in recording fungi and those records are now part of the ALA database. Over 100,000 records have been collected by Fungimap some of which were for Queensland. In 2005 the Queensland Mycological Society was founded and began a program of organised forays mainly focused on South East Queensland. About 300 days of effort are expended annually by members and some 4000 records have been made. More recently the creation of a South East Queensland Facebook group has allowed other naturalists to contribute information on the sighting of fungi over a wider area of the state. All this effort means that fungal records are more extensive in the last decade than in previous periods. This makes it difficult to establish trends, but also means that there is now a greater degree of accuracy about the size and distribution of fungal populations. 

There have only ever been three functional individuals found at three separate sites. One of the authors of the species (Halling) has undertaken extensive surveys in north Queensland and south east Queensland and in New South Wales, but has not found new localities for this species. 

Accounting for unrecorded individuals at the known sites we expect 15 mature individuals per site, i.e. a population size of 45 at the known sites. It is difficult to estimate how many unrecorded sites there are, but multiplying by 100-200 is thought reasonable, giving a total population size of 4500-9000 mature individuals.

Given the rate of habitat loss in the area is around 3% per year, the population size will have decreased by at least 10% in the last 20-50 years (3 generations). This decline is ongoing.

Population Trend: decreasing


Habitat and Ecology

Macrolepiota eucharis is solitary or in small groups, in rainforests, under Eucalyptus grandis and Allocasuarina littoralis.

Threats

Land clearing has reduced the extent of habitat significantly. In 2013, less than about 30% of the pre-settlement habitat remained. Land clearing continues in Queensland and the quality of the remaining habitat is reduced by the presence of numerous feral animals and through burning.

Whilst National Parks appear to be protected from most of the past threats, fungi are not recognised in conservation management plans and therefor any future changes may not favour the conservation of this species. 

Feral animals have a big impact upon many Australian habitats. In these habitats cattle, horses, pigs and deer are all potential problems for fungi and their hosts. It is thought wild pigs and cattle may have the most significant effects. Pigs through digging large areas of soil and consumption of fruit bodies and cattle through trampling and increasing nitrogen levels.

Also, all three of these sites are close to heavily used recreational areas and or roadsides even though they are in National Parks and forest reserves, and all this extra human traffic poses a further threat by the probable introduction of counter productive weedy plant and fungal species.

Future threats also include the effects of climate change. Increasing temperatures, longer and more intense droughts and higher intensity of storms are all already being experienced at the localities inhabited by this fungus (http://www.climatechangeinaustralia.gov.au).

Conservation Actions

This taxon occurs in a forest reserve and two National Parks, all of which have management plans (DNPSR). Writing the species into the management plans would lead to proper consideration of its conservation. Action may be needed to amend fire management regimes if, as seems likely, this fungus is shown to be vulnerable to fire.

The life cycle and habitat requirements of this species and of other saprotrophic species are poorly understood. Research is needed to elucidate this and to formulate effective management plans.

Use and Trade

This species is not utilised.

Source and Citation

Leonard, P.L. 2019. Macrolepiota eucharis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T154528917A154528944. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-3.RLTS.T154528917A154528944.en .Downloaded on 31 January 2021

Country occurrence