Genus Sporophagomyces K. Poldmaa & Samuels

[spore-eating fungus]

Fungi are certainly cool but this one is awesome. The genus name Sporophagomyces means spore-eating-fungus. Rather than acting as a direct parasite, this fungus forms a web just below the underside of the polypore and catches the released spores. The fungus then drills through the spore wall and digests the contents for its food source. There are three named species.

  1. Sporophagomyces chrysostomus, widespread on Ganoderma, Phellinopsis (Phellinus), and Rigidoporus.
  2. Sporophagomyces lanceolatus was described from Puerto Rico on Rigidoporus and is also reported on Ganoderma from Belize, Costa Rica, and Thailand.
  3. Sporophagomyces moellerianus was described from Brazil and is reported on Pyrofomes.

Here is a case of awareness, coincidence, and discovery. October 5th, 2015: Daniel Lindner, USFS, gives a presentation to the Illinois Mycological Association. One of his featured fungi was Sporophagomyces found on Ganoderma in Belize. Then October 8th Jim Steffan, Chicago Botanic Garden, finds and photographs a brown Sporophagomyces on the underside of Ganoderma at Mary Mix McDonald Woods. At the following Coral Woods foray, October 10th, with the Wisconsin Mycological Society, a few of us are checking the undersides of Ganoderma but Peter Vachuska finds and photographs a yellowish Sporophagomyces on the underside of a perennial Phellinus. Then, after this page was started, we found a small brown one with diligent search under the Ganoderma brackets in the woods at Fermilab, October 18th. The only historic collection for the Chicago Region was by E. T. Harper in 1902.

Taxon Details and Links

  • Sporophagomyces K. Poldmaa & Samuels, Canadian Journal of Botany 77 (12): 1765 (1999). Type: Hypomyces chrysostomus Berk. & Broome, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 14: 113 (1875).
The Sporophagomyces species were previously placed in Hypomyces. Põldmaa et al. (1999) separated out the three species into Sporophagomyces on the basis of morphological, ecological, and 28s rDNA characters. The fungus is attached at one point to the host pore surface, with the rest of the feathery growth suspended below the hymenium and catching the spores.
Põldmaa, K., E. Larsson, U. Köljalg. 1999. Phylogenetic relationships in Hypomyces and allied genera, with emphasis on species growing on wood-decaying homobasidiomycetes. Canadian Journal of Botany. 77(12):1756-1768. DOI: 10.1139/b99-148
Rogerson, C. T., and G. J. Samuels. 1993. Polyporicolous Species of Hypomyces. Mycologia 85(2): 231-272. DOI: 10.2307/3760461
Hypomyces moellerianus Bres., Hedwigia 35: 299 (1896). Page Image for Protologue
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Cite this page as: Leacock, P.R. (2017 Nov 23). Sporophagomyces - MycoGuide. Retrieved from

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