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Amanita species 06: The Spotted Salamander

[ Basidiomycetes > Agaricales > Amanitaceae > Amanita . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

See? This is another reason "common names" are a bad idea. I've got no inspiration--none whatsoever--and I need to come up with some kind of a name for this officially undescribed species. So I Google "brown with yellow spots," and discover that Ambystoma maculatum, the spotted salamander, looks a little bit (just a little) like the mushroom in question. Some day, a taxonomist somewhere will give this little guy an official Latin name, and hopefully it won't be "Amanita ambystomoides." For now, though, you're stuck with my salamander comparison.

Although I've only collected it once, this beautiful little mushroom is easily recognized and quite distinct. The cap is brown, and features yellow warts. The stem has a fragile ring and, at its base, loose fragments of yellow universal veil, reminiscent of Amanita flavoconia. The species is vaguely similar to the western species Amanita augusta, but is smaller and more fragile.

My apologies for the truly lousy mushroom photos, and my thanks to John Denk for the great shot of the (real) spotted salamander.


Ecology: Mycorrhizal; appearing in moss under white oak and northern red oak; growing gregariously; July; central Illinois, and probably widely distributed east of the Great Plains; not common.

Cap: 3-6 cm; convex becoming broadly convex or nearly flat; sticky when fresh; bald underneath scattered yellow patches and warts; medium to dark grayish brown, with a darker center; slightly radially streaked; the margin not lined.

Gills: Free from the stem or nearly so; close; white; with frequent short-gills.

Stem: 6-9 x 0.5-1 cm; tapered slightly to the apex; adorned with a flimsy, yellowish, skirtlike ring that sometimes disappears; whitish; fairly bald; base slightly swollen, covered with yellow, mealy veil fragments that are easily shed and can be found surrounding the stem on the substrate.

Flesh: White; unchanging when sliced.

Odor: Not distinctive.

Chemical Reactions: KOH negative on cap surface.

Spore Print: White.

Microscopic Features: Spores 6-8 x 4-6 µ; ellipsoid to broadly ellipsoid; smooth; amyloid. Basidia 2- and 4-spored; clamps not found. Pileipellis a cutis of elements 2.5-7.5 µ wide. Lamellar trama bilateral; subhymenium cellular.

REFERENCES: Herb. Kuo 07110707.

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Amanita sp.

Amanita sp.

Amanita sp.

Amanita sp.

Spotted salamander

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Kuo, M. (2013, May). Amanita sp. 06: The spotted salamander. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: