What You Should Know
Weraroa erythrocephala is a species of fungus in the family Strophariaceae. First described scientifically as Secotium erythrocephalum by Louis René Tulasne in 1845 and later transferred to Weraroa by American mycologists Rolf Singer and Alexander H. Smith in 1958, it was given its current name in 2008. It is found in New Zealand.
Leratiomyces species are commonly found growing on woodchips around garden beds and exhibit either a mushroom or truffle-like morphology. One of the most conspicuous species of truffle-like fungi in New Zealand is the endemic L. erythrocephalus. As well as growing in garden beds, this fungus is regularly found growing in native bush.
Truffle-like fungi are fungi that have a closed hymenium and are unable to actively release their spores to the environment. The evolution of the truffle-like habit is thought to be a response to past climatic changes and animal grazing.
Leratiomyces erythrocephalus is a sister to the cosmopolitan Leratiomyces ceres, which has a typical mushroom morphology. Comparisons of the genomes and transcriptomes from L. erythrocephalus and L. ceres will help to reveal the molecular mechanisms involved in the evolutionary transition from a mushroom to a truffle-like fungus.
Other names: Red Pouch Fungus, Scarlet Pouch.
Leratiomyces erythrocephalus Synonyms
Clavogaster erythrocephalus (Tul. & C. Tul.) Lintott
Secotium erythrocephalum Tul.
Secotium lutescens Lloyd
Photo 1 - Author: Bernard Spragg. NZ (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)
Photo 2 - Author: John Barkla (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International)
Photo 3 - Author: John Barkla (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International)
Photo 4 - Author: Tony Wills (Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic)
Photo 5 - Author: Bernard Spragg. NZ from Christchurch, New Zealand (Public Domain)