Observation 201960: Pithya vulgaris Fuckel

When: 2015-03-26

Collection location: Mount Hood National Forest, Wasco Co., Oregon, USA [Click for map]

45.402° -121.463° 1298m

Who: Joe Cohen (Joseph D. Cohen)

No specimen available

On conifer twigs.
Underside is white.
There are a few dark, tiny thin things lying on the upper surface. I cannot get these in focus. They are likely debris rather than hair.

Species Lists



Proposed Names

-62% (2)
Recognized by sight
62% (2)
Eye3 Eyes3
Recognized by sight
57% (1)
Based on microscopic features: none

Please login to propose your own names and vote on existing names.

Eye3 = Observer’s choice
Eyes3 = Current consensus


Add Comment
Agree about the evidence
By: Joe Cohen (Joseph D. Cohen)
2015-03-29 07:04:25 CST (-0600)

Thanks for the continuing discussion, help, and suggestions.
1. We agree about almost everything related to this determination, particularly that the evidence we have does not “necessarily” make this Observation P. vulgaris. However, you’d like better evidence — more like a criminal conviction, where we tell jurors to convict only if the evidence shows guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt”. I, on the other hand, am willing to put a name in MO using a more relaxed standard; something like what we use in legal civil cases — “more probable than not.”
2. As you point out, we do need to be transparent about the strength and reliability of a determination. (And I think our discussion here makes this Observation transparent.)
3. In principle it wouldn’t be hard to add the flags you suggest. But the current priority is completing the upgrade to Rails 4.0. We do already have a “Based on microscopic features” radio box, so I don’t know if it pays to also have something limited to photomicrography. A sequence flag, with an option box to include a GenBank number and/or link would be nice.

quick note
By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2015-03-28 18:39:05 CST (-0600)

Joe, I know you’re doing good and hard and often thankless work behind the MO scenes. How hard would it be to create a single, simple present/absent flag for “micrography” and “sequence data,” with the ability to sort accordingly?

I can’t help get but get the feeling
By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2015-03-28 18:34:57 CST (-0600)

that if any of these “why not?” style determinations were like murder trials, we’d be repeatedly convicting inadequately documented fungi on the basis of nothing more than bits and pieces of circumstantial evidence.

Jane is found axe murdered in a balloon store. Johnny The Clown is brought in for questioning, and summarily sentenced to death on the basis of his familiarity with balloons, departmental knowledge of previous killings by clowns in balloon stores elsewhere in the world, and the determination that it’s impossible to say he absolutely didn’t do it, therefore he may have done it, which is definitely good enough. Meanwhile, Jimmy Axemurderer, whose foot and fingerprints and microscopic characters are literally littering the crime scene, walks free.

That a given observation shares certain characteristics with those of a known species does not necessarily make it so. Why this is such a perennially difficult pill for MO users to swallow, I don’t know, but the above argument has been met with nothing short of hostility just about wherever it is shopped around.

herein lies
By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2015-03-28 17:47:34 CST (-0600)

MOs need to highlight the difference between strength of momentary consensus versus strength of supporting information and expert confirmation.

changed vote
By: Joe Cohen (Joseph D. Cohen)
2015-03-28 17:25:09 CST (-0600)

Thanks for the explanation.
I couldn’t see anything else which had the right combination of location, habitat, substrate, and macroscopic appearance. As I’m less demanding about being 100% of the ID, and because an Order is pretty broad bucket, I changed my vote.

I don’t know off hand.
By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2015-03-28 17:09:12 CST (-0600)

I do know that I’m not a specialist in the group, and that what little investigations I have made into other “Discomycetes” (particularly little yellow ones) have shown them to be vastly simplified in popular literature and largely unidentifiable to species on the basis of habitat, substrate and macro characters alone.

I’d consider this a good example of an observation in which the participants (thus far) are neither well versed enough on the group of fungi in question, nor endowed with enough supplemental data to proceed unguided through the relevant literature, to be able to make any meaningful determinations.

P. vulgaris is the ID I arrived at using the PNWKC Pezizales Key. I think there’s a decent chance that name is the correct one here, but I wouldn’t be so bold as to stand behind that ID without micro, or without strong assurance from someone well-steeped in the cup fungi of Europe or North America.

What other Helotiales?
By: Joe Cohen (Joseph D. Cohen)
2015-03-28 15:53:46 CST (-0600)

Thanks for the suggestions and the comment; Lacnellula was way off base.
But other than Pythia vulgaris, what taxa of Helotiales are candidates?
- Joe

By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2015-03-28 14:18:15 CST (-0600)

does not occur on needles, afaik.

Created: 2015-03-28 09:01:49 CST (-0600)
Last modified: 2015-03-28 22:17:20 CST (-0600)
Viewed: 111 times, last viewed: 2017-06-20 00:16:51 CDT (-0500)
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