Distribution and abundance of the introduced ectomycorrhizal fungus Amanita phalloides in North America


Author for correspondence:
Benjamin E. Wolfe
Tel: +1 617 496 9741
Email: bewolfe@fas.harvard.edu


  • Despite a growing awareness of the global reach of ectomycorrhizal (EM) fungal introductions, little is known about the fate of introduced EM fungi in novel ranges.
  • Using herbarium specimens, species distribution models, and field collections of sporocarps, root tips and extramatrical mycelia, we assessed the distribution and abundance of the European species Amanita phalloides in North America.
  • There are two distinct ranges of the fungus, one along the West Coast (California to British Columbia) and the second on the East Coast (Maryland to Maine). As predicted by a species distribution model, the West Coast range is larger. Amanita phalloides is more frequently found in native forests on the West Coast than on the East Coast. At Point Reyes Peninsula in California, A. phalloides dominates community sporocarp biomass, and is frequent as root tips. In individual soil cores at Point Reyes, root tips of A. phalloides make up 50% of total root tip biomass. Hyphae of A. phalloides are frequent, but make up only 2% of total hyphal biomass.
  • The contrasting patterns of the distribution and abundance of A. phalloides on the East and West Coasts of North America may influence both its future spread and its impacts.