Identification

The fruiting bodies of myxomycetes are relatively simple organisms and once familiar with their component parts it is quite easy (in most cases) to figure out to which Order they belong. (See the glossary for descriptions of capillitium, pseudocapillitium, columella etc.). However, species identification is often very difficult. It involves measuring and describing the size and characteristics of the fruiting bodies, and measuring and describing the ornamentation on the spores, capillitium etc with a compound microscope.

Colour plates of approximately 110 species collected at Black Sugarloaf are arranged taxonomically by Order. Each plate has descriptions and photographs of mature fructifications (i.e. sporangia, plasmodiocarps, pseudoaethalia or aethalia) plus micrographs of peridium, stem, columella, capillitium, calyculus and spores. Most plates are less than 2 MB.

* Please note that the website does not include representatives of every genus of Myxomycete. Representatives of the Genera collected at Black Sugarloaf are underlined in the lists below:

Key features of the Myxomycete Orders

ORDER: CERATIOMYXALES

Now included in the class Protosteliomycetes and not the Myxomycetes. This is because it is without the shuttle steaming in the plasmodium and the spores are born externally on thread-like stalks. However, it is a conspicuous species and is usually included in field surveys and texts about Myxomycetes.

Includes the genus Ceratiomyxa.  

ceratiomyxa-fruticulosa_9143
Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa

ORDER: LICEALES 

  • Capillitium absent (rudimentary in Listerella)
  • pseudocapillitium of irregular elements sometimes present in aethalia
  • Columella absent
  • Spores in mass pale or brightly coloured, rarely dark brown

Includes the genera Cribraria, Dictydiaethalium, Tubifera, Reticularia, Alwisia, Lycogala, Licea and Listerella.

ORDER: ECHINOSTELIALES 

  • Fruiting bodies small (usually less than 0.5 mm high), stalked and delicate
  • Spores in mass pale, rarely brown or reddish brown

Includes the genera Echinostelium, Clastoderma and Barbyella.

c-debaryanum-closeup
Clastoderma debaryanum

ORDER: TRICHIALES 

  • Fruiting bodies large (more than 0.5 mm high)
  • Spore mass pale or brightly coloured (rarely dark brown)
  • Capillitium conspicuously sculptured (when viewed with compound microscope)
  • Columella absent

Includes the genera Dianema, Calomyxa, Minakatella, Arcyriatella, Perichaena, Arcyria, Arcyroides, Metatrichia, Prototrichia, Hemitrichia, Trichia, Oligonema, Calonema and Cornuvia.

ORDER: PHYSARALES

  • Fruiting bodies with calcium carbonate in stalk, capillitium, and/or peridium
  • Spores in mass black, dark brown or reddish brown
  • Columella present or absent

The Family Physaraceae includes the genera Kelleromyxa, Fuligo, Willkommlangea, Leocarpus, Physarella, Badhamiopsis, Badhamia, Craterium, Physarum and Erionema.

 

The Family Didymiaceae includes the genera Trabrooksia, Diachea, Physarina, Diderma, Mucilago, Didymium and Lepidoderma.

ORDER: STEMONITALES

  • Fruiting bodies without lime
  • Spores in mass black, dark brown or reddish brown

Includes the genera Elaeomyxa, Brefeldia, Amourochaete, Symphytocarpus, Colloderma, Leptoderma, Diacheopsis, Paradiachea, Macbrideola, Paradiacheopsis, Lamproderma, Meriderma, Enerthenema, Comatricha, Stemonaria, Stemonitopsis, and Stemonitis.

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