Home • Syncephalis plumigaleata NRRL S24 v1.0
Two zygospores of Syncephalis plumigaleata.
Two zygospores of S. plumigaleata. Photo credit: Gerald Benny, U Florida
Merospore arrangement on the sporgania.
Merospore arrangement on S. plumigaleata sporgania. Photo credit: Gerald Benny, U Florida

Syncephalis plumigaleata (Piptocephalidaceae, Zoopaginomycotina) is an obligate, haustorial mycoparasite that infects fungi in the Mucoraceae (Mucorales, Mucoromycotina). This species is morphologically characterized by sporophores with thin walls, basal rhizoids, and broadly ovoid vesicles.  The merosporangia are unbranched, multispored and are borne asymmetrically on one side and extended to the apex of the vesicle. The mature spores are released in a droplet of fluid that remains in the place originally occupied by the merosporangia. The initial indication of the presence of S. plumigaleata is the formation of extremely fine hyphae that completely cover the aerial hyphae of the host fungus.


Syncephalis plumigaleata was originally described by Embree (1965) from dung collected in Zimbabwe. However, the species has since been reported from India and various localities in the United States. This fungus is probably distributed globally in soil and dung. This and other species of Syncephalis have the potential to be used as biocontrol agents of Mucorales species that cause postharvest disease or wet rot (e.g. Choanephora cucurbitarum, Gilbertella persicaria, Mucor piriformis, Rhizopus stolonifer) of various fruit and vegetable crops. Genome sequencing of the Syncephalis plumigaleata genome is important because this species is a member of the Zoopagales (Zoopagomycotina), an evolutionary lineage that remains severely understudied.   


Members of the genus Syncephalis are often overlooked when encountered in nature. They are rarely isolated and difficult to maintain in culture because they grow best with their host fungi (in co-culture). However, the genome of Syncephalis plumigaleata was generated based on a pure-culture isolate that was grown on a specialized calf-liver medium developed by Ellis (1966). 


Genome Reference(s)


Ellis JJ. 1966. On growing Syncephalis in pure culture. Mycologia 58:465−469.

Embree RW. 1965. A new species of Syncephalis (Mucorales). American Journal of Botany 52:737-741.

Lazarus KL, Benny GL, Ho H-M, Smith ME. 2016. Phylogenetic systematics of Syncephalis (Zoopagales, Zoopagomycotina), a genus of umbiquitous mycoparasites. Mycologia (in review)