Πέμπτη, 21 Απριλίου 2011

fairyhouse-nail fungus


Poronia punctata has not been officially assessed for the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM, but a provisional assessment of its status is thought to be ‘Vulnerable’. It is a microscopic fungus, found exclusively on old dung, usually of donkeys and horses, and occasionally of cattle and elephants. It produces a greyish disc about 15 mm in diameter on the surface of the dung. Many individual fruit-bodies are embedded in the disc, each with an exit channel for its spores. The tops of these channels appear as tiny black points on the disc surface.
Where vehicles have replaced donkeys and horses, populations have declined, making this fungus extremely rare in some parts of the world, particularly Europe. To compete with fungi already present on old dung, Poronia punctata produces antibiotics. Unfortunately, it too is sensitive to non-natural products, such as additives in the food of animals producing the dung, which is an additional factor in its decline.
The fungus is now strongly associated with herbivores on unimproved grasslands, particularly hay meadows, and its conservation therefore requires additive-free food for those herbivores, and protection of the unimproved grasslands where they live.











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