Danny’s DNA Discoveries – Mythicomycetaceae of the PNW
abundant common uncommon rare - colour codes match my Pictorial Key and are my opinions and probably reflect my bias of living in W WA. Rare species may be locally common in certain places at certain times.
This is a very small family, with only two species, one from each of two genera, Mythicomyces corneipes and Stagnicola perplexa. They used to be in the Psathyrellaceae, but recently were promoted to their own family. Psathyrella is still their nearest kin, but the spores are not very dark (pale to medium brown with perhaps a hint of purple) and the cap cuticle is not cellular. They are not too difficult to recognize, with somewhat pointy conical caps, long tapering very tough brown bottomed stems, notched gills and no veils. Some genera in the Strophariaceae have purple tinged spores, but they are darker purple-brown. They most superficially resemble Heimiomyces fulvipes (a 'Xeromphalina' without decurrent gills), but those have white spores, and the present family is usually found on rotting plant remains in bogs.
We haven't checked all the corners of the globe quite yet, but the two species appear to be the same species everywhere on Earth. Local Stagnicola is about 2% different in ITS from where it was described in the UK, but multi-gene analysis shows that overall, the DNA does not show clear differences between the continents, and there are no discernable morphological or ecological differences anywhere.
Mythicomyces corneipes and Stagnicola perplexa
Mythicomyces has some purple in the spore print, slightly warty spores, and metuloids like Inocybe - thick walled crystalized cystidia.
Stagnicola has no purple in the spore print, smooth spores, and no metuloids.
The spore print colour may be the only way to tell them apart without a scope.
Mythicomyces corneipes and Stagnicola perplexa © Paul Kroeger
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