WAR  of  the  MICROWORLDS  

How do I kill Thee?   Let me count the Ways!   (# 23) click here for full list

Brachymyces megasporus:  "   a thing of beauty is a joy forever"   John Keats

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Brachymyces megasporus

This handsome and distinctive predator has large, darkly pigmented, ellipsoid spores that are almost as large as the sporophore that bears them.   The fungus seems to be related to Rhopalomyces and Helicocephalum, also known as predators of microscopic animals or their eggs.   I have not seen it since I originally discovered it in 1980 nor, so far as I know, has anyone else.  ZYGOMYCOTA.

As with Rhopalomyces the hyphae are remarkably fine, scarcely more than a micron in diameter.  So the large spore can supply sufficient energy to produce  an extensive mycelial 'network' in the environment to attack the prey.  As a point of special interest this is one of the few 'lower fungi' (Zygomycota) that can produce anastomoses between units of the vegetative hyphae.  This is certainly true for Rhopalomyces and probably true for Brachymyces and Helicocephalum.   In general it is considered that anastomosis between vegetative hyphae is a property common in the higher fungi (Ascomycota and Basidiomycota) but rare in so-called Lower Fungi (Chytridiomycota, Zygomycota).