On 18th August 2012 I found golden baubles shiny with rain on a twig in Thismia Gully. Its iridescent peridium suggested a Lamproderma and the key in Martin & Alexopoulos was used with immediate success—or so I thought at the time as the spores’ reticulate pattern seemed to match those of L. cribrarioides.
On 3 October 2013 a similar-looking species with nodules on the capillitium visible with the dissecting (stereo) microscope appeared on small piled up eucalypt branches. Although the description for L. cribrarioides in Martin & Alexopoulos has no reference to nodules the illustration depicts one small protuberance.
After sending some material to European experts I received a paper A Study on Lamproderma australiansis and L. reticulosporum by Moreno et al. (2008) and my collections matched the descriptions in that paper.
L. reticulosporum and L. australiansis are described as ‘two apparently very rare species’. L. reticulosporum was first described in 1991 and is known only from the type locality: a tropical forest in western Java. L. australiansis was first described in 2007 and is represented by two collections from the type locality: alpine habitat at Thredbo in New South Wales, Australia.
The authors conclude:
‘both species occur in association with bryophytes in association with litter or bark, suggesting two muscicolous Lamproderma species with very different ecological requirements: L. reticulosporum occurring in the tropics and L. australiansis in an alpine snowbank habitat.’
The Black Sugarloaf collections are not muscicolous (growing with moss) and Tasmania is neither tropical nor alpine. However, they were identified as L. reticulosporum by the author of the paper, Professor Gabriel Moreno, based on some minute differences in morphology and the non nivicolous habitat.
The paper’s authors regard the placement of the species in the genus Lamproderma as questionable because of the characters of the capillitium—i.e. the yellowish to orange, oily thickenings that are similar to those of Elaeomyxa miyazakiensis. They therefore transfer the two species to the Genus Elaeomyxa until further molecular studies are undertaken.
I have collected Elaeomyxa reticulospora every year at Black Sugarloaf since I started collecting. In June 2017 several hundred sporangia appeared on the leaves and twigs that had accumulated on ‘big tree’ log, and on another log downslope from ‘big tree track’. In June 2014 it was found in eucalypt forest at Liffey, approximately 25 km south of Black Sugarloaf. It is certainly not ‘very rare’ in Tasmania, in fact its appearance every year at my study site makes it one of the most common species I collect.