A mantled fungal reproductive unit from the Lower Devonian Windyfield chert, Scotland, with prominent spines and otherwise shaped projections extending out from the mantle
Krings, Michael; Harper, Carla J.
published: Aug 1, 2017
Six different types of small fungal reproductive units with ancillary coverings in the form of hyphal mantles have been described from the Lower Devonian Rhynie chert in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. This paper presents the first record of a mantled fungal reproductive unit from the close- by, broadly coeval Windyfield chert. Specimens consist of a walled spheroid (~100 μm in diameter) enveloped in delicate, circumferential hyphae; thin-walled spines and otherwise shaped projections, produced by these hyphae, extend out from the mantle. The spheroid is borne on a tubular, septate hypha. Because the structure of the mantle differs from that seen in all other fossil fungal reproduc- tive units, the new genus Windipila and species W. spinifera are proposed for the Windyfield form. Windipila spinifera resembles the Carboniferous fungal "sporocarp" genus Dubiocarpon in that it possesses prominent, outwardly directed spines, and thus supports the hypothesis that several of the patterns of mantle formation seen in Carboniferous fungal "sporocarps" were present in the fungi by the Early Devonian.