Images of Orbiliomycetes (Ascomycetes)


This is a preliminary compilation of a monograph on the Orbiliomycetes now about 20 years under study. Only very recently this group of small to very small cup fungi (discomycetes) has been attributed the rank of a class within the Ascomycetes. Previously, the included species have mainly been assigned to the genera Orbilia Fr. (1835) and Hyalinia Boud. (1885) and erroneously treated in the Helotiales (Leotiomycetes). Before this study was undertaken, the group has only rather sporadically been investigated and comprised only about ?35 more or less accepted taxa. Our investigations predominantly on xeric habitats brought to light a much higher number of species (presently about 370!). Most of them will be described as new to science, while a lot of often more or less insufficiently known taxa published by various authors are redescribed from the type material. The monograph focuses on vital taxonomy and xeric habitats, two rather neglected but highly important topics.


The present survey provides an overview on the macro- and microscopical character diversity and on the ecology of the class Orbiliomycetes. The major part of the photos were made by myself, mostly using a Nikon Coolpix 4500 (now ca. 250 , only available second-hand) with a Russian Horizon 10x lens (c. 40 ) in front of the objective, mostly illuminated by a ring of 4 small LEDs (self-made system by G. Marson). If photos or collections derive from other persons, I have indicated the author.


A. Dry versus hydrated state of apothecia

B. Overview on genera and sections

The here presented images consistently show the apothecia in the hydrated state (either fresh or rehydrated). Rehydrated apothecia are mainly those from xerotolerant species. Such taxa are usually collected in the dry state but rewetted prior to examination and imaging.

The major part of Orbiliomycetes look macroscopically very similar or more or less identical, and that even among different sections or subgenera. Identification at species or higher level is only possible from micromorphological features seen with the light microscope at oil immersion. Although the macroscopy of Orbiliomycetes appears partly very characteristic and beautiful, a high variation among collections of the very same species is often noted, especially concerning colour, size and shape of apothecia, and length of marginal hairs. This variation is here only exemplified for some of the presented species.

a. Lilapila, Liladisca & Rotiferodiscus

b. Hyalorbilia

c. Orbilia subgenus Hemiorbilia

1. sectio resinicola + lenta

2. sectio euonymi + myriospora

3. sectio vinosa

4. sectio aristata

d. Orbilia subgenus Orbilia

1. sectio ovoidea

2. sectio serpentina

3. sectio delicatula + microsoma

4. sectio auricolor + luteorubella

5. sectio aurantiorubra

C. Helotiales with a macroscopical similarity with Orbilia