Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Fungus new to Ireland

Last year, I showed spores of a mushroom that I had found in woodchip mulch in a supermarket car park. My identification at that time was a tentative Stropharia aurantiaca.

This week, I found it in the same location and took this shot (cap is 5 cm. diameter):

Leratiomyces ceres
Since I first identified it last year, I found that it has been renamed as Leratiomyces ceres, or Redlead Roundhead. The orange/red cap with grey/pink gills on a dirty white stipe is very distinctive, and it is clearly expanding its territory rapidly. A native of Australia, it was first reported in Britain in 1957. The first record in Northern Ireland was in 1995, and it has been recorded there regularly since then.

As far as I can ascertain, this is the first Irish record, although I'm sure it won't be the last.

New to my species list.


Toffeeapple said...

Goodness me, you are so good at finding firsts aren't you?

I trust that it won't affect the indigenous flora.

stuart dunlop said...

@Toffeeapple: When I found my first Irish first in 2005 I was astonished, but I have come to realise a couple of things:

1) Nobody has really been looking in such detail across such a wide scope of our wildlife, so I suppose I'm bound to find something new.

2) We are living in a time of huge climate change due to warming: species are moving north and west at quite a rate, so new species are arriving here for the first time.

3) I live on the north-west corner of Ireland, where the air is very clean and we are first landfall from the Atlantic, so we're pretty unspoiled.

As Linnaeus said (and I paraphrase) "No location yields more species than that which is most closely studied."

I'm fortunate that I find all groups of wildlife intensely interesting, and this gives me an overall perspective that many (?most) specialists are lacking.

I also come from an engineering background, so I have no preconceptions and am therefore free to ask awkward questions.

In terms of effects on our indigenous flora, this particular fungus is a wood decomposer, so I would expect it to have little or no negative effect on our indigenous wildlife. It probably came in on dead wood or woodchips or plant material. The vast majority of sightings in the UK and Northern Ireland have been on woodchip mulch, and mine was too.

That's around 20 new species that I have added to the Irish list, but I suppose if I started to name e.g. Ichneumonids I could push that into the hundreds.