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Hypomyces hyalinus

[ Ascomycetes > Hypocreales > Hypocreaceae > Hypomyces . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

Special Agent Fox Mulder, of X-Files fame, might have a few things to say about the parasite Hypomyces hyalinus; it is clearly an alien mutation of a normal mushroom. Amanita rubescens is a beautiful species, widely distributed east of the Rocky Mountains, recognized in part by its tendency to "blush" the color of Agent Scully's gorgeous hair. But when it is attacked by parasitic aliens, it looks like any number of X-Files bad-guys. Is Hypomyces hyalinus taking over the Amanita rubescens population? Science has no answer to this question. But the authoritative online source for information on Hypomyces is at the U. S. Department of Agriculture'sHypomyces website . . . in short: the government. What does that tell you?

In fact, the USDA claims to be ignorant of fully half of the Hypomyces hyalinus life-cycle: "[T]here is no proven connection between H. hyalinus and any anamorph." What we see on Amanita rubescens is called the "telomorph," the sexual stage of the fungus (which produces asci and sexual spores). The "anamorph," or asexual stage, is wholly unknown! This can only mean that the aliens are a doomed race from outer space; they cannot breed except by parasitizing the earthly fruiting bodies of Amanita rubescens.


Ecology: Parasitic on Amanita rubescens, which is found under conifers and hardwoods in summer and fall in eastern North America. Also documented on Amanita frostiana, Amanita flavorubescens, and Amanita muscaria.

Fruit Body: A whitish to pinkish covering; attacking the host rapidly and soon disfiguring it; when on Amanita rubescens sometimes retaining the "blushing" characteristic of that species (see the bottom-right specimen in the top illustration).

Microscopic Features: Spores 15-20 x 4.5-6.5 µ; spindle-shaped; warty; septate (with a separating wall).

REFERENCES: (Schweinitz, 1822): Tulasne, 1860. (Phillips, 1991/2005; Lincoff, 1992; Rogerson & Samuels, 1994; Roody, 2003; McNeil, 2006; USDA, 2006.) Herb. Kuo 09280307.

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Hypomyces hyalinus

Hypomyces hyalinus

Hypomyces hyalinus

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Cite this page as:

Kuo, M. (2003, October). Hypomyces hyalinus. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: