• Proposed
  • Under Assessment
  • Preliminary Assessed
  • Assessed
  • DDPublished

Ophiocordyceps ainictos (Möller) G.H. Sung, J.M. Sung, Hywel-Jones & Spatafora

Search for another species...

Scientific name
Ophiocordyceps ainictos
Author
(Möller) G.H. Sung, J.M. Sung, Hywel-Jones & Spatafora
Common names
 
IUCN Specialist Group
Cup-fungi, Truffles and Allies
Kingdom
Fungi
Phylum
Ascomycota
Class
Sordariomycetes
Order
Hypocreales
Family
Ophiocordycipitaceae
Assessment status
Published
Assessment date
2021-10-20
IUCN Red List Category
DD
Assessors
Bittencourt, F., Neves, M.A., Kossmann, T., Martins da Cunha, K., Baltazar, J.M., Costa-Rezende, D.H., Trierveiler-Pereira, L., Vieira de Miranda, M. & Drechsler-Santos, E.R.
Reviewers
Mueller, G.M. & Minter, D.

Assessment Notes

The content on this page is fetched from The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/209595557/209597943

Justification

Ophiocordyceps ainictos is known from only two records, both from the Itajaí Valley region in Southern Brazil. This is an inconspicuous species and several studies and field trips on entomopathogenic fungi from Santa Catarina state failed to find additional records of the species. Also, no additional records were found on FLOR Fungarium, which represents the largest fungi collection in Santa Catarina.

The species of Lepidoptera caterpillar the species associates with is unknown and it is unclear if the distribution and abundance of the fungus is associated with the distribution and abundance of the caterpillar. Additionally at this time it is not possible to estimate the impact that habitat quality, changes in rainfall patterns, or pollution/ insecticide use is having on the fungus or its host. Thus its population size and trends are not known and the species is assessed as Data Deficient.

Taxonomic notes

Ophiocordyceps ainictos was originally described as Cordyceps ainictos Möller. The species is readily recognizable for bearing two types of stromata: one capitate with immersed perithecia and the other linear with superficial perithecia. This unique morphology was suggested as representing two distinct species (Petch 1935), but the morphology of both the type illustration and the recent record are indisputably very similar.

Geographic range

Ophiocordyceps ainictos is known for the type specimen (Möller 1901) and was again recorded in 2015 from the same locality, Itajaí Valley, Santa Catarina State, Southern Brazil. Petch (1935) studied a similar specimen from Madagascar, but there are significant morphological differences and it is unlikely that it represents the same species.

Recent field surveys collecting entomopathogenic fungi have been conducted in Santa Catarina state, mainly along the eastern coastal region and in the upper hills of Serra Geral, but also to a lesser degree on the west and Itajaí Valley regions. The species has only been recorded from Itajaí Valley region. This region of 200,000 km² in the eastern portion of Santa Catarina state is covered by broad-leaved forest. It presents unique geographic characteristics that provides a rich and unique flora with many endemic species (Klein 1979, 1980, Vibrans et al. 2013). There have been a high number of field surveys in many areas of Santa Catarina State but the species has only been recorded twice, both times from Itajaí Valley region and we assume that the species is endemic to this region.

Population and Trends

This species is known from only two records, both from the same region. Although an inconspicuous species, several studies and field trips on entomopathogenic fungi from Santa Catarina state failed to find additional records of the species. Also, no additional records were found on FLOR Fungarium, which represents the largest fungi collection in Santa Catarina.

The species of Lepidoptera caterpillar the species associates with is unknown and it is unclear if the distribution and abundance of the fungus is associated with the distribution and abundance of the caterpillar. Due to the nature of Ophiocordyceps ainictos' habitat, this species has a generation length of 1 year. Recent data from Floristic and Forest Inventory of Santa Catarina (https://sites.google.com/view/iffportal/) shows that the net number of trees from the broadleaved forest of Santa Catarina, that includes the region of Itajaí Valley, is positive by about 4.3%. While this number suggests that the forest is likely recovering, it is hard to affirm that other factors, such habitat quality, changes in rainfall patterns, or pollution / insecticide use is impacting the fungus or its host. Thus its population trend is not known.

Population Trend: unknown


Habitat and Ecology

Ophiocordyceps ainictos is an entomopathogenic fungus, parasitic of either a caterpillar or pupa of an unknown species (Möller 1901) found on litter and deeply decayed wood on soil. Many species of entomopathogenic fungi are host specific, and this may be the case of O. ainictos. It has been found only twice, 100 years apart, both times near Blumenau municipality in the Itajaí Valley region Southern Brazil. This species has not been found in nearby fragments of Itajaí Valley or other large protected areas of Santa Catarina state such as national parks. 

Available data suggest this species is endemic to mature forests of Itajaí Valley region, but uncertainty regarding its host makes this assumption questionable.

Threats

Loss and degradation of habitat, changes in rainfall patterns, and pollution/ insecticide use can negatively impact both the fungus and its insect host.

Conservation Actions

The second and most recent record of the species was made inside a Protected Area (Parque Nacional da Serra do Itajaí) that includes areas from nine municipalities. Knowing host species may help address conservation actions for both fungus and host insects. Additional surveys in other sites of Atlantic Forest of Southern Brazil are needed to better understand its distribution. Revision of fungaria specimens from other fungaria may reveal additional records and sites of this species. The host species is unknown, and communication with entomologists is necessary. This species transferred to Ophiocordyceps solely based on morphology (Sung et al. 2007), and additional molecular data should clarify its taxonomic position.

Use and Trade

No use is known for this species.

Source and Citation

Bittencourt, F., Neves, M.A., Kossmann, T., Martins da Cunha, K., Baltazar, J.M., Costa-Rezende, D.H., Trierveiler-Pereira, L., Vieira de Miranda, M. & Drechsler-Santos, E.R. 2021. Ophiocordyceps ainictos. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2021: e.T209595557A209597943. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2021-3.RLTS.T209595557A209597943.en .Accessed on 20 December 2021

Country occurrence