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Krings, Michael; Taylor, Thomas N.; Martin, Helmut (2016): An enigmatic fossil fungus from the 410 Ma Rhynie chert that resembles Macrochytrium (Chytridiomycota) and Blastocladiella (Blastocladiomycota). In: Mycologia, Vol. 108, No. 2: pp. 303-312
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Abstract

Litter layers in the Lower Devonian (similar to 410 Ma) Rhynie chert were inhabited by a wide variety of saprotrophic fungi, however, only a few of these organisms have been described faunally. A new microfungus, Trewinomyces annulifer gen. et sp. nov., occurs as tufts on decaying land plant axes from the Rhynie chert. The fungus consists of an intramatrical rhizoidal system and an erect extramatrical hypha (stalk) that bears a single, terminal sporangium. One or two successive rings often are present in the stalk immediately below the sporangium base. Overall morphology of T. annulifer resembles the extant genera Macrochytrium (Chytridiomycota) and Blastocladiella (Blastocladiomycota). However, the rhizoids are septate or pseudoseptate, a feature not known in extant zoosporic fungi, and thus render the systematic affinities of T. annulifer unresolved. Trewinomyces annulifer offers a rare view of the morphology of a distinctive Early Devonian saprotrophic microfungus.