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Go to the NZFungi website for more indepth information on Metatrichia vesparium. Metatrichia vesparium


Metatrichia vesparium
Hemitrichia vesparium
Lycoperdon vesparium
Hemiarcyria rubiformis
Trichia rubiformis


Present in region - Indigenous. Non endemic

Article: Stephenson, S.L. (2003). Myxomycetes of New Zealand. Fungi of New Zealand. Ngā Harore o Aotearoa 3: xiv + 238 p. Hong Kong: Fungal Diversity Press.
Description: Fruiting body a stalked (or rarely sessile) sporangium, gregarious to clustered, 1.0–1.5 mm tall. Sporotheca obovate, usually firmly united into clusters, erect, wine-red to dark maroon or sometimes nearly black, individual units 0.4–0.7 mm in diameter. Hypothallus membranous, contiguous for a group of sporangia, colourless to dark red. Peridium opaque, firm, shining, often with metallic reflections, dehiscence by a preformed dome-shaped operculum. Stalk solid, rather thick when supporting several sporothecae, brick red. Capillitium consisting of numerous long, free, rarely branched elaters, most of which are bent 180 degrees in the middle with the two halves coiled about one another, bearing three to five spiral bands and numerous spines 1–2 µm long, bright red to deep crimson, the tips blunt. Spores brownish red in mass, reddish orange by transmitted light, minutely warted, 9–11 µm in diameter. Plasmodium black but becoming deep red just prior to fruiting.
Habitat: Decaying wood or bark, particularly that from broadleaf trees; occasionally on dead leaves.
Distribution: Common and widely distributed in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphre and apparently less common in tropical regions and in the Southern Hemisphere. The first report of this species from New Zealand appears to have been that of Colenso (1891), which was based on a specimen (reported as ‘Hemiarcyria rubiginosa’) from Hawkes Bay. This name can not be applied with certainty to any taxon currently recognized (Lado & Pando 2001) but is likely to represent a corrupted version of Hemiarcyria rubiformis, an earlier name known to have been applied to what is now recognized as M. vesparium. The species also was reported from New Zealand (as Arcyria rubiformis) by Massee (1892), without giving a specific locality, and (as Hemitrichia vesparium) by Cheesman & Lister (1915), based on a specimen collected in Bay of Plenty.
Notes: The clustered sporangia of Metatrichia vesparium, which resemble miniature paper wasp nests, are distinctive. However, the lack of any recent collections suggests that the species is uncommon in New Zealand.