An annotated checklist slime molds (Myxomycetes = Myxogastrea) of western Kazakhstan

Authors: Zemlyanskaya, Inna & Novozhilov, Yuri & Schnittler, Martin
Journal: Karstenia, Volume 58 (2020), Issue 2, pages 168-189.
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Key words: Amoebozoa, arid regions, biodiversity, steppe, desert, slime molds, species inventory, Myxogastria, Kazakhstan

Abstract: Winter-cold arid regions of western Kazakhstan were surveyed for myxomycetes for a period of 20 years. A total of 3228 records belonging to 111 species from 31 genera and 10 families are provided in an annotated checklist. The checklist contains data on the localities, habitats, substrates, methods of collection and voucher numbers of specimens deposited in the mycological herbarium (LE) of the V.L. Komarov Botanical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Additionally the bibliographic references of the myxomycete species findings in the study area are given. Due to the very arid climate of the region, 2911 specimens (ca. 90%) were obtained from 1653 moist chamber cultures prepared with samples taken from bark of living plants, litter and the weathered dung of herbivorous animals. Only 317 specimens of myxomycetes were collected directly in the field, mostly in woody artificial plantations. The lowest species diversity was observed in habitats with halophytic vegetation, where on average only 1–2 species were recorded per moist chamber culture. Only Perichaena depressa and P. liceoides were common under such conditions. The highest diversity of myxomycetes was observed in the intrazonal woody communities of the steppe zone, which are usually associated with river valleys and artificial woody plantations. In these habitats lignicolous species occurred: Amaurochaete atra, Arcyria obvelata, Cribraria cancellata, Lamproderma scintillans, Lycogala epidendrum, Metatrichia vesparia, Oligonema flavidum, Stemonitis axifera, S. fusca, S. herbatica, S.pallida, Symphytocarpus confluens, and Trichia contorta. However, the apparently most common species of myxomycetes in the studied area are associated with litter or bark: Badhamia foliicola, B. spinispora, Didymium anellus, D. difforme, D. trachysporum, Echinostelium colliculosum, Fuligo cinerea, Licea denudescens, L. nannengae, L. parasitica, Macbrideola oblonga, Pericaena depressa, P. corticalis, P. liceoides, P. vermicularis, Physarum cinereum, and Ph. pseudonotabile. Among substrate types, species diversity and richness decrease from wood over ground litter to bark, and dung of herbivorous animals. Shannon diversity and species richness reached maximum values in the intrazonal and artificial woody communities, whereas treeless sagebrush desert and dry steppe communities and, halophytic vegetation had the most depauperate yet most specific myxomycete assemblages. Assemblages associated with these vegetation types displayed a high level of similarity to those of myxomycete assemblages from other arid regions of Kazakhstan and Central Asia. In contrast, assemblages of the artificial woody plantations in the study region displayed a high level of similarity to those of boreal forest regions of Siberia for which data exist, but differed from the assemblages documented from treeless desert and steppe regions of Eurasia.