Pilaira anomala RSA1997 v1.0
Fig 1) Strongly phototropic terminal sporangium and sporangiophore of Pilaria anomala. Fig 2) suspensors and darkly pigmented zygospore of P. anomala. Photos by Kerry O'Donnell
Fig 1) Strongly phototropic terminal sporangium and sporangiophore of Pilaria anomala. Fig 2) suspensors and darkly pigmented zygospore of P. anomala. Photos by Kerry O'Donnell

Pilaria anomala Schroter RSA 1997 is the type species of this coprophilic mold (Order Mucorales).  Pilaria was erroneously classified in the family Pilobolaceae together with Pilobolus and Utharomyces, based on the shared production of multispored sporangia in which the wall is greatly thickened and persistent at maturity.  However, multilocus molecular phylogenetic data support placement of Pilaria within the Mucoraceae (O’Donnell et al. 2000; Walther et al. 2013).  The terminal sporangia and sporangiophore of P. anomala, which are covered with spinose calcium oxalate crystals, are strongly phototropic (Fig. 1).  During the sexual phase of the life cycle, darkly pigmented zygospores are formed between apposed suspensors after + and – strains of this heterothallic species mate (Fig. 2).  The whole-genome sequence of P. anomala was obtained to advance our understanding of evolutionary relationships within the Mucorales and other early diverging fungi as part of the 1000 Fungal Genome Project (http://1000.fungalgenomes.org/home/).

References:

O’Donnell K, Lutzoni F, Ward TJ, Benny GL. 2000. Evolutionary relationships among mucoralean fungi (Zygomycota): Evidence for family polyphyly on a large scale. Mycologia 93:286─296.

Walther G, Pawłowska J, Alastruey-Izquierdo A, Wrzosek M, Rodriguez-Tudela JL, et al. 2013. DNA barcoding in Mucorales: an inventory of biodiversity. Persoonia 30:11–47.