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Ukr. Bot. J. 2017, 74(5): 469–474
https://doi.org/10.15407/ukrbotj74.05.469
Red Data Book of Ukraine

Distribution of Morchella steppicola (Pezizales, Ascomycota), a fungus listed in the Red Data Book of Ukraine, within the country

Heluta V.P.
Abstract

Morchella steppicola (Pezizales, Ascomycota) was described by the Ukrainian mycologist M.Ya. Zerova on the basis of a sample collected by D.K. Zerov in 1930 in the outskirts of Karlivka town, Poltava Region. From the 1950s to 1990s, the fungus was found in Donetsk, Kherson, Kirovohrad, and Luhansk Regions. Since it was occasionally encountered, it was included in the second edition of the Red Data Book of Ukraine as a xeromeridional species with a disjunctive range in category III (a rare species). However, in 1991–2010, M. steppicola was recorded in a number of new localities in Cherkasy, Donetsk, Luhansk, Odesa, Sumy, and Zaporizhzhia Regions. The fungus was found not only in the virgin steppe, but also in disturbed plant communities: on burnt lands, sites used by off-road motor vehicles, pastures including those heavily trampled by cattle, along railroad tracks, on fire places in forest plantations, neglected lands. The third edition of the Red Data Book of Ukraine reports that M. steppicola was found in at least 12 regions of Ukraine. At present the fungus is also known in other countries, namely in Azerbaijan, Germany, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia (Rostov Region), Serbia, Slovakia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Recently, the information flow about the distribution of M. steppicola in Ukraine has increased significantly. Therefore, the article contains all available data about the localities of this fungus registered after publication of the third edition of the Red Data Book of Ukraine. It is concluded that M. steppicola is a common species in the South of Ukraine. The fungus occurs quite often primarily in the steppe, but it is also widespread in the forest-steppe zone of Ukraine, producing numerous fruit bodies. Despite the fact that M. steppicola is listed in the Red Data Book of Ukraine, it is traditionally collected in large numbers by local population, which does not affect the condition of the fungus. Considering that neither M. steppicola, which is humus saprotroph, nor its habitats are threatened, it should be excluded from the Red Data Book of Ukraine. However, in the areas near the northern border of the M. steppicola range (Cherkasy, Khmelnytsky, Kirovohrad, Kyiv, Odesa, Poltava, and Sumy Regions), the species should be protected at the regional level. It is noted that M. steppicola was apparently described in Hungary as M. hungarica Bánhegyi, as macroscopic features of the fruit bodies of the latter fully correspond to the ascomata of M. steppicola recorded in Ukraine. In addition, microscopic features of both species given in their descriptions completely coincide. Since the article by Zerova was published earlier than the one in which M. hungarica was described, the priority of Zerova as the author of the species is undeniable and the species name of this fungus should be M. steppicola.

Keywords: fungi, rare species, exclusion from the Red Data Book, South of Ukraine, Hungary, Morchella hungarica

Full text: PDF (Ukr) 1.11M

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