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About Virtual Mycota

The virtual Mycota provides an interface to descriptions and images on New Zealand's fungi, data also available through the NZFungi web pages. To access data in NZFungi requires knowledge about the name of a fungus. The virtual Mycota provides simple keys, and sets of images for quick visual comparisons, allowing a nonexpert in fungi to more easily access data about an unknown fungus. Links from the species names of the fungi included in the virtual Mycota open the NZFungi page for the same species. The NZFungi page provides additional information on the nomenclature of the fungus, its distribution within New Zealand, cultures and specimens in collections, bibliography, etc.

The aim of these pages is to provide access to the published information available for the fungi of New Zealand in a 'flora-like' format. Although Landcare Research has recently initiated a series Fungi of New Zealand/Nga Harore o Aotearoa, to provide a published flora for New Zealand's fungi, it will be many years before more than a tiny proportion of our fungi are treated. New Zealand also has very few field guide-like books on fungi. Most of the published information on New Zealand's fungi is in the scientific literature, and therefore is widely scattered and often available only through specialist libraries. The NZFungi database has gathered this information together, and it is presented through both the NZFungi and virtual Mycota web pages. One disadvantage of this approach it that the data provided for the various species is wildly inconsistent in content and style.


Not all of the species in NZFungi have been treated in the virtual Mycota. These pages concentrate on the larger, fleshy fungi - the kind of fungi most likely to be of interest to non-mycologists, and the kind of fungi most easily indentifed without the aid of a microscope.

Two groups of 'microfungi' have been treated, the rusts and the smuts. These two groups are important plant pathogens, and although the fungus might be small, the disease symptoms produced are often highly visible.

Depending on demand, more groups of fungi will be added progressively to the virtual Mycota.

The virtual Mycota has been compiled with the assistance of the TFBIS programme of the Department of Conservation. This assistance has allowed the addition of copies of published descriptions of many fungi (both microfungi and macrofungi) to the NZFungi database. An effort has been made to treat as many of the fungal species first described from New Zealand as possible (i.e. those with a New Zealand type specimen). With time, descriptions will be provided for all fungi recorded from New Zealand. The TFBIS funding has also allowed the development of the virtual Mycota web interface, making the NZFungi data on the more conspicuous species more accessible to non-experts.