Types of Fungi
|Ascomycetes are 'spore shooters'. They are fungi which
produce microscopic spores inside special, elongated cells or sacs, known as 'asci', which
give the group its name. As the spores mature within an ascus, increasing fluid pressure
builds up inside until eventually the top bursts off, rapidly releasing the spores. In
some species, the spores may be shot out distances of up to 30cm.
Ascomycetes are very varied. They can be identified from the fruiting bodies which bear the asci and the way in which the asci develop.
|Fungi with spores produced
inside a sac called an ascus.
Each ascus usually contains 8 spores (sometimes 4, depending on the species)
Asci are microscopic structures
|There are two main groups of Ascomycetes
with fruiting bodies large enough to catch the eye. The groups are separated according to
how the asci are carried on the fruiting body.
|Cup Fungi, Morels (Order Pezizales)
Earthtongues (Order Helotiales)
fungi (Order Clavicipitales)
Xylaria and Daldinia (Order Sphaeriales)
|The asci are arranged in a layer on the
surface of the fruiting body.
In the cup fungi, asci are found packed together into a layer which lines the inside surface of a cup-shaped disc.
|The asci are grouped together
into flask-shaped structures known as perithecia.
These are sunk into the surface of the fungal fruiting body. They open to the outside through a small hole, known as an ostiole.
More on Ascomycetes here
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