New fungus found in northern Jutland

Fungal species can only be seen with a magnifying glass

You would be hard-pressed to spot the little fella, but Danish scientists have found a tiny new fungus in the forests of Skindbjerglund, southeast of Aalborg.

“It is very, very small. That's why it has not been discovered before,” Thomas Læssøe, a fungi expert and lecturer at University of Copenhagen, told Videnskab. “You can see it with the naked eye if you make an effort, but it requires a magnifying glass so you can really see what it is.”

The fungus, measuring no more than one millimetre high, has been named Hirticlavula elegans since the discovering scientists deem the miniscule find “awfully pretty”, thus giving it its “elegant” Latin name. Its Danish name is hårkølle.

A rare find
Hans Kristensen Viborg, a conservator at the Natural History Museum in Aarhus, says that it is relatively rare to find new species in Denmark that originate here.

“We often find species that are new in the Danish countryside, but they are species that are known from other countries,” he told Videnskab.

Before a species is deemed new it must go through a thorough DNA analysis. In fact, this elegant fungus was first found in 1995, but according to Læssøe they had “too little DNA material from the first discovery” to determine if it was indeed a new species.

According to Læssøe, they have also found the new fungus in Store Vildmose, a peat bog in northern Jutland in Vendsyssel, as well as Tønsberg in southern Norway.