An updated checklist of the myxomycetes in the Maltese islands – An overview of an ongoing research

Stephen Mifsud
2020 Microbial Biosystems Journal  
Myxomycetes are minuscule cryptogamic saprotrophs of decaying vegetative matter, but which also feed and therefore control soil bacteria, microfungi or fungal spores. Yet, their role is not much valued in conservation protocols, and they are not frequently included in red lists. Their study in the Maltese Islands commenced only in the late 20th century by Michael Briffa, where he published 74 records. This account amalgamates the previously published records, revised to their current taxonomy
more » ... d classification, with new records collected in this research between 2014-2020. The resulting checklist of 96 myxomycetes occurring in the Maltese Islands is here provided. The location, date and host of the first record of each species are given in this annotated checklist. The 22 new records are members of the genera Cribraria, Lycogala, Echinostelium, Perichaena, Trichia, Badhamia, Craterium, Fuligo, Physarum, Diderma, Didymium and Mucilago. This ongoing study on the slime moulds of the Maltese Islands aims to collect, photograph and identify as many specimens as possible so a better represented and updated inventory is compiled. From the past records, experience and fieldwork gained in this research, the myxomycetes that are considered rare or threatened are identified for possible inclusion in a national Red Data List of cryptogams. Moreover, collections currently deposited at the author's Fungarium may be used to revive populations (e.g. in moist chambers) that are very rare and hence may be used for the conservation of native slime moulds. Finally, this work helps further students and international experts to comprehend which myxomycetes are currently recorded in the Maltese Islands.
doi:10.21608/mb.2020.45597.1025 fatcat:p33p4t3vzraxpnnuhfygtsmlay