BioInfo (UK)

Richardson, M.J. & Watling, R., 1997

Keys to Fungi on Dung

Handy lab guide to the fungi growing on dung and pellets of owls and other birds of prey.

Publisher British Mycological Society (BMS)
Pages 68
ISBN 0 9527704 2 3
Edition 2
Comments and Corrigenda Basidiomycetes Key, p59:
couplet 49B - 56 should be 66
couplet 50B - 66 should be 56

The key gives no indication of which species are associated with the different kinds of dung.
Coverage Ascomycota: includes most genera and commoner or well-known temperate species.
Perithecial, pseudothecial, cleistothecial and gymnothecial fungi: includes most genera and commoner or well-known temperate species. It also includes spp growing on hair, horn, bone and cadavers spp so applicable to fungi on carnivore dung and pellets of owls and other birds of prey.
Basidiomycota: adopts a narrow species concept, and aims to be complete for the UK.
Zygomycota: covers commoner genera and species.
Illustrations A few blocks of line drawings in the text.
Identify Under a Compound Microscope (also useful to examine under a Stereo Microscope).
Specimen Prep. Dung fungi are rarely seen in the field, but are very easily cultured. Collect fresh or dry animal dung (herbivore - rabbit, deer, cow, horse - dung is best to start with) The dung should be placed on damp tissue paper and covered with a jam jar or plastic pot. Keep it indoors in a well-lit spot out of the reach of animals or children. The Zygomycete pin-moulds will apear in the irst few days and the Ascomycetes and Basidiomycetes follow over the next few weeks.

Hygenic precautions should be taken at all times: was hand and containers with disinfectant and avoid touching eyes or mouth while working with the fungi. Take particular care when handling carnivore dung and owl pellets as hair and horn fungi can spread to fingernails. Rubber gloves or disposable surgical gloves recommended. Dispose of cultures responsibly - burning or burying them.
Difficulty Fairly straightforward, although some are very small to handle. Identification generally relies on microscopic structures and spore size.

Malcolm Storey

Taxonomic Scope

ASCOMYCOTA Caval.-Sm. (spore shooters) Identification Current
BASIDIOMYCOTA R.T. Moore (spore droppers) Identification Current
AGARICACEAE Chevall. (mushrooms, dapperlings and parasols) Identification Current
BOLBITIACEAE Singer (fieldcap and conecap toadstools) Identification Current
Panaeolus (Fr.) Quél. (mottlegill toadstools) Identification Current
Psilocybe (Fr.) P. Kumm. (a genus of brownie toadstools) Identification Current
MUCORALES (an order of pin moulds) Identification Current Difficult to see these on the dung as they tend to form a tangle of hyphae. They often require culturing for accurate identification.
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