|Amanita muscaria (Agaricales)|
incertae sedis (no subclass)
Agaricomycetes is a class of fungi. The taxon is roughly identical to that defined for the Homobasidiomycetes (alternatively called holobasidiomycetes) by Hibbett & Thorn, with the inclusion of Auriculariales and Sebacinales. It includes not only mushroom-forming fungi, but also most species placed in the deprecated taxa Gasteromycetes and Homobasidiomycetes. Within the subdivision Agaricomycotina, which already excludes the smut and rust fungi, the Agaricomycetes can be further defined by the exclusion of the classes Tremellomycetes and Dacrymycetes, which are generally considered to be jelly fungi. However, a few former "jelly fungi", such as Auricularia, are classified in the Agaricomycetes. According to a 2008 estimate, Agaricomycetes include 17 orders, 100 families, 1147 genera, and about 21000 species.
Although morphology of the mushroom or fruit body (basidiocarp) was the basis of early classification of the Agaricomycetes, this is no longer the case. As an example, the distinction between the Gasteromycetes (including puffballs) and Agaricomycetes (most other agaric mushrooms) is no longer recognized as a natural one—various puffball species have apparently evolved independently from agaricomycete fungi. However, most mushroom guide books still group the puffballs or gasteroid forms separate from other mushrooms because the older Friesian classification is still convenient for categorizing fruit body forms. Similarly, modern classifications divide the gasteroid order Lycoperdales between Agaricales and Phallales.
All members of the class produce basidiocarps and these range in size from tiny cups a few millimeters across to a giant polypore (Phellinus ellipsoideus) greater than several meters across and weighing up to 500 kilograms (1,100 lb). The group also includes what are arguably the largest and oldest individual organisms on earth: the mycelium of Armillaria gallica have been estimated to extend over 150,000 square metres (37 acres) with a mass of 10,000 kg (22,000 lb) and an age of 1,500 years.
Nearly all species are terrestrial (a few are aquatic), occurring in a wide range of environments where most function as decayers, especially of wood. However, some species are pathogenic or parasitic, and yet others are symbiotic, these including the important ectomycorrhizal symbionts of forest trees. General discussions on the forms and life cycles of these fungi are developed in the article on mushrooms, in the treatments of the various orders (links in table at right), and in individual species accounts.
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- Hibbett DS, Thorn RG. (2001). McLaughlin DJ, et al. (eds), ed. The Mycota, Vol. VII. Part B., Systematics and Evolution. Berlin, Germany: Springer-Verlag. pp. 121–168.
- Hibbett DS, et al. (2007). "A higher level phylogenetic classification of the Fungi". Mycological Research 111 (5): 509–547. doi:10.1016/j.mycres.2007.03.004. PMID 17572334.
- Kirk PM, Cannon PF, Minter DW, Stalpers JA. (2008). Dictionary of the Fungi (10th ed ed.). Wallingford, UK: CABI. pp. 12–13. ISBN 0-85199-826-7.
- Fries EM. (1874). Hymenomycetes Europaei (in Latin). Uppsala: Typis Descripsit Ed. Berling. p. 1.
- Cui B-K, Dai Y-C. (2011). "Fomitiporia ellipsoidea has the largest fruiting body among the fungi". Fungal Biology 115 (9): 813–814. doi:10.1016/j.funbio.2011.06.008. PMID 21872178.
- Smith M, Bruhn JH, Anderson JB. (1992). "The fungus Armillaria bulbosa is among the largest and oldest living organisms". Nature 356 (6368): 428–431. doi:10.1038/356428a0.
- Tree of Life Agaricomycetes by David S. Hibbett
- Overview of the Basidiomycota from Aarhus University, Denmark
- Evolution & Morphology in the Homobasidiomycetes
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