A major new publication from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and IUCN addresses the question "Priceless or Worthless?" concerning some of the globe's most endangered species. A list of 100 species is used as examples of likely extinctions unless humans intervene. And included among the 100 - as a world first - is a FUNGUS! At last - recognition at global level that fungi can be threatened too!
Cryptomyces maximus (willow blister; family Rhytismataceae) becomes a fungal flagship species! Recorded only on willow from Pembrokeshire in western Wales and from northern Sweden, the ascomatal stroma is shiny black with an orange to yellow margin. See illustration and further details at: http://www.iucnredlist.org/sotdfiles/cryptomyces-maximus.pdf
The IUCN publication has received global media coverage including an extensive Daily Mail article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2201459/8-000-scientists-plea-save-100-endangered-animals-plants.html that opens with:
"From a fungus in Wales to a guinea pig which lives only in a small 20acre patch in Brazil: Plea goes out to save the unknown 'at-risks' from extinction. Report by international consortium calls for all species to be saved 'even if worthless by monetary standards'”
There's also mention in the 100 species list of the unnamed fungal symbiont of the Australian underground orchid Rhizanthella gardneri.
With growing awareness of fungal conservation among mycologists and fungal enthusiasts, recognition of a threatened fungus by IUCN and ZSL is a very welcome step. Credit is given in the publication to David Minter. David is President of the International Society for Fungal Conservation www.fungal-conservation.org . We owe David and associates our thanks for bringing fungi to the global stage.