Biodiversity of Hypogeous Fungi in Basilicata

Gian Luigi Rana, Stefania Mirela Mang, and Ippolito Camele

Abstract During the last two decades, systematic studies were carried out on biodiversity of hypogeous fungi in forestry territories of the two Basilicata (southern Italy) provinces, Matera and Potenza. Identification of fungus taxa found in the region was commonly accomplished on the basis of macroand microscopic features, and only in a few instances, molecular analyses were utilized. Thanks to these investigations, Basilicata now occupies, among Italian regions, the first and fourth positions for number of Tuber species, varieties or forms and total number of hypogeous fungi (Ascomycota, Basidiomycota and Zygomycota) naturally growing in its woodlands and Mediterranean maquis areas. In fact, the last up-to-date acquirements on the topic bring up to 29 and 53 the number of Tuber taxa and that of the other hypogeous and semi-hypogeous (only three entities) fungi present in the region, respectively. In this chapter, the essential information regarding these fungi is given, so updating to 2014 the relative available knowledge. Among the Fungi, object of this review, the Ascomycota Pachyphloeus conglomeratus and Tuber malenc¸onii, the Basidiomycota Hymenogaster decorus, H. hessey,

H. rehsteineri, Schenella pityophilus and Myriostoma coliforme as well as the Zygomycota Youngiomyces multiplex deserve a particular mention because of their rarity.


In the last two decades, several researches have been carried out on biodiversity of hypogeous fungi of Basilicata, an Italian region characterized by a very heterogeneous territory for cenotic diversity deriving from its great geomorphologic complexity. The first studies accomplished on the topic by Cerone et al. (1994) and by the Potenza group of Associazione Micologica G. Bresadola (Trento) (Tagliavini 1999) showed that all the commercial species, varieties and forms of truffles were present in the region along with some unmarketable taxa, i.e. Tuber excavatum Vittad., T. fulgens Que´l., T. rufum Pico: Fr. var. rufum, T. rufum var. nitidum (Vittad.) Montecchi & Lazzari, T. gibbosum Harkn., T. maculatum Vittad., Choiromyces meandriformis Vittad. and Balsamia vulgaris Vittad. The Institute of Plant and Forestry Pathology of the Agriculture Faculty of University of Basilicata [now School of Agricultural, Forestry, Food and Environmental Sciences (SAFE)] subsequently carried out systematic investigations on these fungi. Initially, with the graduation thesis entitled “Il tartufo in Basilicata” (Marino 1999), additional documented information was given on the above taxa, and presence of another hypogeous fungus, belonging to Basidiomycota, Hymenogaster popouletorum Tul. & C. Tul., was reported in Potenza province. Further studies (Cerone et al. 2000, 2002; Marino et al. 2003) allowed to bring up to 16 and six the numbers of Lucanian hypogeous fungi belonging to Ascomycota Pezizales and to Basidiomycota, respectively. Thanks to successive investigations (Marino et al. 2005; Rana et al. 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013a, and unpublished data), the number of hypogeous fungi naturally growing in Basilicata, including only three semihypogeous taxa, grew up to 82 entities as shown in Table 1. Although all fungi, object of the article, are well-known species, varieties or forms, exsiccatae of almost all specimens found in Basilicata were deposited in Herbarium Lucanum (HLUC) of SAFE. In this chapter, the essential information on these fungi is briefly reported. For those here mentioned for the first time, the main macroand microscopic features along with the relative exsiccata number, date and site of finding are mentioned. For details about the great majority of Lucanian taxa, the available specific literature and truffle treatises by Montecchi and Sarasini (2000), Riousset et al. (2001), Gori (2005), and Granetti et al. (2005) should be consulted. The nomenclature and taxonomic classification adopted for fungi object of the article are those reported on the MycoBank website (Crous et al. 2004; Robert et al. 2005).

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