Taxonomic changes in Boletus

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Taxonomic changes in Boletus

Postby GeoffDann » Sun Sep 20, 2015 9:27 pm

Am I the only one who thinks this is getting silly?

Bay Boletes are supposedly now called Imleria badius and B. rhodopurperus is Imperator rhodopurpureus. We also have Caloboletus, Butyribotelus, Suillelus, Rubroboletus, Hortiboletus, and Xerocomus (which then became Xerocomellus apart from some species that went back into Boletus because Xerocomus was declared invalid).

This seems to be an American phenomenon, with the BMS and British mycologists completely ignoring it. It looks like a bunch of "careerist" US mycologists using genetic testing as an excuse to invent ever more new genera for things that were traditionally in Boletus. Reading some sources, I get the impression some people have had enough of it.

Can anybody throw any light on where this is going? Is the BMS and British/world mycology going to eventually adopt all these new names, or are we in some sort of temporary phase where everybody outside the US just waits for the dust to settle, or simply ignores all the new names because what is going on is specific to US culture?
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Re: Taxonomic changes in Boletus

Postby Mal Greaves » Mon Sep 21, 2015 9:24 am

I am totally with you on this. I have never been sure what defining characteristic justifies a new species or genera. At this rate there will no longer be a need for a species name because each different "Bolete" will have its' own genera.
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Re: Taxonomic changes in Boletus

Postby admin » Fri Apr 01, 2016 1:49 pm

There are growing concerns among field mycologists with their feet planted firmly in their wellies, as distinct from those immured in their laboratory ivory towers who rarely venture into the field to record on anything approaching a regular basis. For the latter DNA-profiling is the current 'in thing', but how many of the laboratory-bound actually stop to consider what they doing and whether it is actually going to serve a useful purpose beyond a limited coterie being able to say 'Ah, those may look alike, smell alike, grow in similar places, have identical morphology and anatomy, but, hey, we know better because their DNA is not the same!' I'm inclined to respond; 'So what?' If DNA profiling had been around in the days of the Dodo, and the lab whizz-kids of the day had discovered there were actually two Dodo look-alikes rubbing shoulders with one another, would it have stopped the demise of the Dodo? No, it would not. All that the current obsession with DNA profiling is doing for field mycologists is to cause greater practical headaches, and create ever more names to contend with. It is rarely helping to conserve our stocks of fungi. What IS resulting is an ever-widening gulf between the whizz-kids in their white coats, and those poor mycologists with their wellies on in the field having to deal with the fall-out.

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Re: Taxonomic changes in Boletus

Postby Mal Greaves » Fri Apr 01, 2016 8:16 pm

We must never stand still or we would still have the likes of Boletus hepaticus rather than Fistulina hepatica but when species are so close on the DNA ladder what on earth is the point of generating so many new names.
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Re: Taxonomic changes in Boletus

Postby Roy Betts » Sat Apr 02, 2016 9:11 am

I tend to disagree. There are two separate issues here: one, putting known species into a new Genus and two, splitting a currently named species into two or more species.
Whether one calls Parasola plicatilis, Coprinus plicatilis or calls Xerocomellus chrysenteron, Boletus chrysenteron doesn't seem to matter. At least fellow mycologists know what you're talking about. Non-mycologists may be confused depending on which name is in their Field Guide! I go along with the FRDBI which in general, except for Suillus and Leccinum spp., is maintaining most of the rest of the Boletes in Boletus (at least until the dust settles).
Regarding molecular studies revealing new species. In some instances it has been possible to find macroscopic differences between species (eg: the Paxillus involutus complex). In others this may not be possible (I'm thinking of Agaricus Section Minores!). If it is not possible to split species without DNA analysis then we could use 'agg.' after the name; at least we have gone as far as we can.
I don't think it is useful to split the 'welly' brigade from the 'white coats'. Most of those using molecular studies are well known field mycologists just using the latest tools to try and unravel difficult areas. They make regular field trips to collect and make very detailed descriptions of their finds. If possible they identify macro- or microscopic differences between species.
Personally, I'd like to know how many Melanoleucas there are in Britain and if Clitocybe rivulosa really is the same as dealbata.
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Re: Taxonomic changes in Boletus

Postby admin » Sun Apr 03, 2016 3:28 pm

Actually, I would support much of what Roy has articulated here, including the use of the suffix 'agg'. Where I will beg to disagree is about some of the airy perceptions I sense to be held by the 'lab brigade'. When we published the most recent 80 species Red List, Martyn Ainsworth vehemently disagreed with my decision not to include Geastrum britannicum as a species distinct from Geastrum minimum, but I stick to the opinion that it was the right decision. Since there is no known way in which the 'field operator' can distinguish between the two, and until we have a pocket gadget that will perform DNA analysis 'at a glance', I can't see any point in muddying the waters for an already harassed field recording community doing its best to maintain intelligent recording. If the bods at Kew want to perform DNA testing on all Geastrum minimum look-alikes (and if somebody comes up with money to facilitate over-stretched recorders packing up and posting on a Monday morning . . . and if Kew shows better signs of being able to cope with the workload they have at present!) then, by all means, have two boxes at Kew for the exsiccata, one labelled G.minimum and another G. britannicum. But from the perspective of the weary field collector, that is a bit of an irrelevance. What we call it/them will make not a jot of difference to the underlying need to conserve, as best we can, that which looks morphologically and anatomically to be what we have come to know as G. minimum. A rose by any other name . . .

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Re: Taxonomic changes in Boletus

Postby Roy Betts » Thu Apr 28, 2016 11:37 am

I've just come across the article in Field Mycology (April 2015) that describes Geastrum britannicum.
It should not be difficult to distinguish from G. minimum as the spores of the two spp. measure 3-3.8µ (britannicum) compared with 5-6µ for minimum (Pegler, Laessoe, Spooner 1995).
The article in Field Mycology says that (prior to DNA analysis) "We had been aware for over a year that we had an undescribed species,...." and "Once recognised, however, the new species is quite distinctive". The authors list the macro and micro features that distinguish it from the closely related species of fornicatum and quadrifidium.
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Re: Taxonomic changes in Boletus

Postby GeoffDann » Mon May 02, 2016 11:46 pm

Thankyou all for your thoughts on this.

For me, the problem wasn't merely theoretical, because I have a book coming out in September and I had to decide which names to use in it. I spoke to Martyn Ainsworth at Kew, who basically sat on the fence, suggesting that the new names would eventually be officially adopted, but it was hardly worth keeping up with the current changes because it is all happening so fast. But just leaving everything as Boletus when it is already fairly clear that Boletus as a genus is destined to be left as a rump containing edulis and a few close relatives didn't seem to me to be the best option. Not that there were any good options in this situation. So I've gone with the latest names, even though they are still changing. It's done now, and too late to change the text in any major way.

https://www.greenbooks.co.uk/edible-mushrooms

Penny Bun or Cep, Boletus edulis
Pine Bolete, Boletus pinophilus
Dark Penny Bun, Dark Cep or Bronze Bolete, Boletus aereus
Summer Penny Bun, Summer Cep or Summer Bolete, Boletus reticulatus
Bay Bolete, Imleria badia
Oak Bolete, Butyriboletus appendiculatus
Pale Bolete, Butyriboletus fechtneri
Rooting Bolete, Caloboletus radicans
Bitter Beech Bolete, Caloboletus calopus
Bitter Bolete, Tylopilus felleus
Devil's Bolete, Rubroboletus satanus
Bilious Bolete , Rubroboletus legaliae
Ruddy Bolete, Rubroboletus rhodoxanthus
Oldrose Bolete, Imperator rhodopurpureus
Brawny Bolete, Imperator torosus
Inkstain Bolete, Cyanoboletus pulverentulus
Scarletina Bolete, Neoboletus luridiformis
Lurid Bolete, Suillelus luridus
Deceiving Bolete, Suillelus queletii
Ruby Bolete, Hortiboletus rubellus
Orangefoot Bolete , Hortiboletus engelii
Matt Bolete, Xerocomellus pruinatus
Red-cracking Bolete, Xerocomellus chrysenteron
Suede Bolete, Boletus submentosus
Sepia Bolete, Boletus porosporus
Peppery Bolete, Chalciporus piperatus
Parasitic Bolete, Pseudoboletus parasiticus


NB: new common names were agreed with Liz Holden from the BMS.
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