, Volume 59, Issue 1, pp 85-90
Date: 06 Oct 2012

Coprophilous myxomycetes: Recent advances and future research directions

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Species of myxomycetes are adapted to different ecological niches and occupy different microhabitats. The majority of species have a wide ecological amplitude and may be found on various kinds of substrata. Some species have narrower ecological niches and are restricted to or mainly found on one special kind of substratum. Coprophilous species grow on dung or on a substratum in close contact with dung. The vast majority of records stem from moist chamber cultures on dung from herbivorous mammals, but several species have also been recorded on droppings from birds. A limited number of species can be regarded as truly coprophilous in that they have predominantly or in some cases only been recorded on dung. Some of these species are known from very few collections and their dependence on dung may therefore be difficult to judge. No correlation is absolute and species regarded as coprophilous may sometimes, although rarely, turn up on other types of substrata. Dung is rich in bacteria and nutrients and is a favourable substratum for myxomycetes. Many species normally inhabiting other habitats are occasionally found on dung, and up to now about 114 species have been reported from this kind of substratum, a number that will continue to grow. At least three species, Licea alexopouli, Kelleromyxa fimicola and Trichia brunnea, have thick-walled spores, a possible adaptation to passing through the intestinal tract of a herbivore before germination can take place.