Original paper

A mantled fungal reproductive unit from the Lower Devonian Rhynie chert that demonstrates Carboniferous "sporocarp" morphology and development

Krings, Michael; Taylor, Thomas N.


A conspicuous fungal reproductive unit, Helmutella devonica nov. gen. et sp., occurs in plant litter from the Lower Devonian Rhynie chert, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. The fossil consists of a thin-walled spheroid (∼55 μm in diameter) surrounded by a massive, two-layered hyphal mantle. The outer mantle layer is constructed of interlaced hyphae extending around the circumference of the structure; the inner layer consists of radially elongate elements, which represent inwardly directed branches of the hyphae that make up the outer mantle. The spheroid is borne on a tubular hypha, the distal portion of which is also covered by the mantle. Helmutella devonica differs from the mantled fungal reproductive units described previously from the Rhynie chert, but resembles certain Carboniferous fungal “sporocarps” with regard to mantle morphology and development. The presence of H. devonica in the Rhynie chert indicates that several different mantle patterns were in place in fungi by the Early Devonian.


developmentfungal “sporocarp”glomeromycotahyphal investmentmycocarponzwergimyceszygomycetous fungi