This is a jelly-like resupinate on wood of coyote bush. It has an “auricularioid” basidium, and it starts with a little sac-like structure to the side of what will become the mature metabasidium.
This is the second collection of this species from Pt. Reyes. The first I called Helicobasidium, but really didn’t spend the time to look at it closely. You can see it here: http://pmb.berkeley.edu/~bruns/tour/mycoblitz2.html. After spending more time with this collection I think Helicogloea is more likely because the basidium is straight and seems to originate from probasidium with a sac-like appendage. Also now that I have read a little more, I don’t think Helicobasidium would be as jelly-like. Achroomyces (Platygloea) is similar but lacks the sac-like appendage to probasidium. Using Chen and Oberwinker’s 2000 key it seems to fall near H. langerheimii and H. variabilis. The spore size fits the latter better, but that species is known only from S. America, so I’ve gone with the more commonly applied name. It may be something different, however. Another image of it from Europe looks similar to this http://www.mycokey.com/...
The key to looking at this specimen was that I kept it wet with paper towels overnight and had it spore-print onto a glass slide. When I looked at this fresh material it was easy to find mature basidia and repeating spores. After drying it was hard to find the specimen at all, as it dried down to a thin, transparent film, and when I looked it the dried material microscopically I only found probasidia.
I have cultures of it now derived from spore drops onto MMN agar. It initially grew as a very sparse, almost invisible mycelium, but has become a little more dense and fluffy with time (or mating?).
The wood that it is on does seem to be colonized by some short of Xylariaceous ascomycete. It is possible that this is its host rather than the wood. Apparently mycoparasitisim is common in Achroomyces. I’m not clear whether that is also true for Helicogloea. The wood was very well decayed, and as Davin noticed from the photo, infested by termites.
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Created: 2011-01-19 13:45:20 CST (-0600)
Last modified: 2011-01-27 13:30:11 CST (-0600)
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