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Revista de Biología Tropical

On-line version ISSN 0034-7744Print version ISSN 0034-7744

Rev. biol. trop vol.51 n.1 San José Mar. 2003


Calvatia sporocristata sp. nov. (Gasteromycetes) from Costa Rica
F.D. Calonge 1 , Milagro Mata 2 y Julieta Carranza 3
 Received 02-XI-2002. Corrected 29-I-2003. Accepted 10-II-2002.
Calvatia sporocristat a, Gasteromycetes, is described and illustrated as a new species. Its taxonomic characters are discussed and compared with other closely related species of the genus. Few studies have been carried out on tropical Gasteromycetes. The new species here proposed has, as the main features: exoperidium corky, smooth, one-layered, pseudoparenchymatous; endoperidium thin, papyraceous, dextrinoid; subgleba cellular; capillitium septate, dissociated at the septal site, lycoperdon type, without pores, elastic and spores amigdaloid, 4-6 (-7) x 2.5-4.5 µm with spines aligned, forming crests, 0.8 µm high.

Key words: Gasteromycetes, Lycoperdales, taxonomy, tropical fungi, Costa Rica.
The genus Calvatia was established by Fries in 1849 and it includes 35 species (Hawksworth et al. 1995). Due to the conspicuous size of most of the species on this genus, it has been studied in detail in several countries: Ahmad (1980) in Pakistan, Bottomley (1948) in South Africa, Dissing and Lange (1962) and Dring (1964) in Central Africa, Coker and Couch (1928) and Zeller and Smith (1964) in USA, Cunningham (1944) in Australia and New Zealand, Demoulin (1968) in Belgium, Calonge (1998) in Spain and Portugal, Hollós (1904) in Hungary, Smarda (1958) in former Czechoslovakia, Kreisel (1973) in Germany, Liu (1984) in China, Lange (1990) in the Arctic regions, etc. Recently, Kreisel (1989, 1992, 1994) has carried out several contributions on the Calvatia complex, proposing some new systematic arrangements.

Materials and methods

The material studied is deposited at the USJ herbarium and was collected in Costa Rica, in the following localities: Cartago, Guarco, La Estrella, immature, 31-V-1994, leg. B.A. Strack, USJ 55147; Guarco, under Quercus sp., two almost mature basidiomata, 15-VI-1996, leg. J. Ammiratii, USJ 64256; Cartago, Turrialba, CATIE, Bosque Florencia, a mature basidioma in process of disintegration, 14-III-1977, leg. L. San Román, USJ 21675. Microscopic observations were carried out using 5% KOH as mounting medium, and ultramicroscopic ones coating samples of gleba with gold-palladium. Photographs were taken using an Hitachi S-2360 belonging to the Centro de Investigación en Estructuras Mi-croscópicas at the University of Costa Rica.


Calvatia sporocristata
Calonge, sp. nov. Figs. 1-5

Etym.: sporocristata, spores with spines forming crests.

Basidiomata turbinata vel subglobosa, 13-30 x 12-25 cm. Exoperidium brunneum laeve. Endoperidium tenue, dextrinoideum. Gleba inmatura luteo-brunnea, matura brunnea, lanosa. Subgleba cellularis, atro-brunnea. Capillitium hyalinum, septatum, non perforatum, fragile, 3-6 µm latum. Sporae ellipsoideae, 4-6 x 2.5-3.5 µm, cum cristae echinulatae, apedicellatae.

Holotypus: Costa Rica, Cartago, Guarco, La Estrella, subter Quercus sp., 15-VI-1996, leg. J. Ammiratii, USJ 64256, Universitatis Costaricensis. Isotypus: MA-Fungi 52002, Hortus Botanicus Matritensis.
Basidioma turbinate to subglobose (Fig. 1), 13-30 x 12-25 cm. Exoperidium corky, brownish, dark on the top but paler towards the base, smooth, one-layered, pseudoparenchy-matous, with elements up to 80 x 50 µm diam, polymorphous from globose to polygonal. Endoperidium thin, papyraceous, dextrinoid, made of 3-5 µm diam, septate, branched, hyaline hyphae. Gleba occupying one fourth of the basidioma, yellowish-brown before maturity, then dark brownish, woolly. Subgleba taking the rest of the basidioma, chocolate brown, cellular (Fig. 1). Capillitium hyaline, 2-6 µm diam, septate, dissociating at the septa, lycoperdon type, smooth, without pores, elastic, with 1 µm thick walls. Spores ellipsoid to amygdaloid, 4-6(-7) x 2.5-3.5(-4.5) µm, excluding the spines, which are aligned forming crests, 0.8-1 µm high (Figs. 2-5).


The literature on Calvatia does not show any taxon matching C. sporocristata, but several species show some similarities, for instance, Kreisel (1994) pointed out that C. lepidophora (Ell. and Ev.) Coker and Couch has ellipsoid, verruculose to verrucose spores, but Coker and Couch (1928) and Bottomley (1948) said that the spores of this species are spherical. Another close species is C. longi-cauda (P. Henn.) C. G. Lloyd ( = C. agaricoides Dissing and M. Lange), which shows an agaricoid shape, with the upper part of the basidioma flattened, 3-7 cm broad, 1-2 cm high, often clearly grooved to lobed, with a distinct pseudostipe, 4-6 cm high, 1-2 cm broad. Exoperidium velvety to fibrillose, two-layered. The capillitium is pitted with dichotomous branching (Dissing and Lange 1962). All these characters separate C. longicauda from C. sporocristata, although the spores are similar, 4-5 x 3.2-3.8 µm, ovoid and echinulate with the spines not aligned in crests (Dissing and Lange 1962).

Other related species is C. ochrogleba Zeller, which has a basidioma of the same shape, peridium duplex and similar size and colour, but the capillitium is pitted and subglobose to almost spherical, spores without crests (Zeller 1947), and C. tatrensis Hollós, which presents similar shape, but has quite different microscopy (Zeller and Smith 1964). Suárez and Wright (unpublished) have found a new species, C. oblongispora Suárez and Wright, which shows similar spores, both in shape and size, to our C. sporocristata, growing in a tropical habitat in Brazil. However, the study of a sample of such collection has shown clear differences. For instance, in C. oblongispora the basidioma is smaller, less than 10 cm diam, exoperidium is two-layered and the capillitium has abundant pores. Thus, the only two features which suggest a common origin for both species are the tropical habitat and the amygdaliform spores, with the spines aligned in crests.

Then, we believe that C. sporocristata and C. oblongispora could well be included in a new section; Sporocristata Calonge, within the subgenus Calvatia, following the classification proposed by Lange (1993).

Thus, the combination of the above mentioned characters: a dextrinoid endoperidium, a non pitted capillitium, ellipsoid to amygdali-form spores with an ornamentation made of spines aligned in crests, differentiates this taxon from the previously known species, and support the proposal of C. sporocristata as a new species.


The authors are grateful to H. Kreisel and J.E. Wright for critical revision of the text and useful comments; to Chuck Mora and to the Centro de Investigación en Estructuras Microscópicas at the University of Costa Rica for their valuable help with the SEM. The senior author acknowledges the financial support obtained from the Spanish Ministry of Education, that allowed him to travel and stay in Costa Rica. The specimen chosen as holotype was collected under the NSF Grant projects No. NSFDEB 9972018 and NSFDEB9972027.


Se describe e ilustra una especie nueva de Gasteromycete para Costa Rica, Calvatia sporocristata. Las características más importantes que distinguen esta nueva especie son: exoperidio corchoso, suave, uniestratificado, pseudoparenquimatoso; endoperidio delgado, papiráceo, dextrinoide; subgleba celular; capilicio septado, disociado en el septo, de tipo lycoperdon, sin poros, elástico y esporas amigdaloides, 4-6(-7) x 2.5-4.5 µm con equinulaciones alineadas formando crestas, 0,8-1 µm de altura.


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1 Real Jardín Botánico, CSIC, Plaza de Murillo, 2. 28014 Madrid, España;

2 INBio, Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad, A.P. 22-3100, Santo Domingo, Heredia, Costa Rica;

3 Escuela de Biología, Universidad de Costa Rica, San José, Costa Rica;

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