Another Alwisia

17 May 2020 A newly formed myxomycete appeared on a log I walk past every day. It was a different colour to anything I’ve seen previously – some fruiting bodies were white and others dark brown – but its multiple sporothecae on coalescing stalks were vaguely reminiscent of Trichia verrucosa, a common species in Australia. I started taking a series of photos to track its development.

17 May 2020
18 May 2020

By 18 May the fruiting bodies were creamy white but by 20 May most were a light tan colour although some in a more sheltered location remained dark brown.

20 May 2020
20 May some of the sporothecae remained dark brown

9 June – the fruiting bodies had not dried to the bright yellow of T. verrucosa so I examined them more closely. The colour of the spore mass was similar to Alwisia lloydiae, but the larger size, speckled peridium, irregular dehiscence and longer calyculus were different to A. lloydiae, a common and familiar species at Black Sugarloaf at all stages of its development. However, to eliminate that species I collected one sporocarp to check for the bristle-like capillitium arising from the calyculus, one of the key features of A. lloydiae.

9 June 2020 Mature fruiting bodies with a speckled peridium
The calyculus is longer than other Alwisia species
The coalescing stalks are not a feature of other Alwisia species.

The lack of the capillitium arising from the edge of the calyculus eliminates A. lloydiae, and the sporangia on coalescing stalks rules out other Alwisia species. However, the slime mould keys out to Alwisia.

The light brown, 5-6 micron diameter spores have a broken reticulate pattern x1000

17 March 2022 An extensive colony of the same unusual Alwisia was found on another large eucalypt log.

17 March 2022 These fruiting bodies were part of a very extensive colony of the unusual Alwisia.
The peridium at the top of the fruiting bodies breaks into circular iridescent fragments
Spherical brown objects were found in the spore mass.

12 March 2022 Coincidentally, the early stage of the same species was photographed during a Central North Field Naturalists outing to the Bush Heritage Reserve at Liffey Falls. I did not see it myself, but a photograph of the very distinctive early stage was taken by one of the members.

3 March 2022 The very distinctive early stage of the unusual Alwisia was photographed at the Bush Heritage Reserve at Liffey in northern Tasmania. Photo: M. McConnell

13 March 2022 Photographs of the same species that were found in the Yarra Ranges, Victoria Australia were posted on Instagram. Photographs supplied by Baiba Mellups

14 April 2022 Immature fruiting bodies of possibly the same species were observed by Felix Harper at Somersby Falls Walking Track, Somersby NSW 2250, Australia and posted on iNaturalist:

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/111405052

24 April 2022 The same species with the much longer calyculus was observed by Reiner Richter at Ada, Yarra Ranges, Victoria, Australia and posted on iNaturalist:

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113072002

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