Slime mould log
by Sarah Lloyd
Elaeomyxa reticulospora (previously known as Lamproderma reticulosporum/australiensis - see log 6) appeared on two occasions at Black Sugarloaf in 2014 and once at Liffey in June 2014 during a CNFN field outing.
The species has a yellow plasmodium and the developing fruiting
bodies are quite distinctive, with the nodes on the capillitium
visible with a x10 hand lens before the peridium fully matures.
All sporangia appeared on leaves, twigs and dead fern fronds on the ground. The specimens from Liffey could be identified by their reticulate spores despite being collected before they were fully mature. Many of the Black Sugarloaf sporangia, especially the specimens collected on June 4, were depending (i.e. handing down) from the underside of leaves. They were subjected to a lot of moisture - either constant foggy conditions or heavy rain - while they were developing which may have affected their appearance. All sporangia had dark yellow waxy globules or lighter yellow patches on the stipe or peridium.
columella and capillitium
stipe with yellow globules
A myxo hotspot in treeferns (Dicksonia antarctica)
On 25 May 2014 I chanced upon a small cluster of Craterium minutum on the rachis of a treefern in Thismia Gully. This is the first time I have found mature sporangia of this orange-brown goblet-shaped 1.5 mm high myxomycete. Unfortunately it was past its prime (i.e. it had lost the ‘lid’ that covers the spores) so I started to search for better specimens in other treeferns – of which there are many.
Treeferns are ancient plants frequent in Tasmania's rainforests, wet eucalypt forests and damp places within dry woodlands. In long undisturbed areas they can attain great heights of around 12 metres. The Black Sugarloaf specimens are between 1–2 metres tall and therefore an ideal height to inspect. Over the decades leaves, twigs and small branches fall from the forest canopy and accumulate amongst the living and dead fronds.
The search of the treeferns proved very productive with some plants harbouring several species and neighbouring ferns having none. Within a week of discovering this 'hotspot' I extended the Black Sugarloaf species list. Didymium clavus, D. squamulosum and D. nigripes appeared either on the accumulated litter or within 300 mm of the base of the fronds; a yellow plasmodium creeping amongst the fallen litter and up the living fronds produced yellow sporangia of Physarum contextum and I found several more specimens of C. minutum on the fronds. A Comatricha species (possibly C. pulchella) and more recently a Diderma sp. also appeared on accumulated leaf litter.
The past few months have been very productive for myxomycetes with some species recorded for the first time at Black Sugarloaf.
I had only one collection of Enerthenema papillatum until May 2014 when it appeared in several places including a very large fallen tree (Eucalyptus obliqua) and fallen eucalypt branches in Thismia Gully, and on a very large old eucalypt stump that had been felled decades ago and fallen limbs on Big Tree track. E. papillatum is a distinctive species with an apical disc (i.e. disc at the top of the sporotheca) to which is attached the capillitium. Older fruiting bodies resemble tiny maypoles.
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