Pyrenomycetes* are fungi that occur primarily as perithecial ascomata (flask-shaped fruiting bodies) on a wide range of substrates including soil, dung, leaf litter, decaying wood, as well as other fungi. These “little black dots” comprise the largest numbers of fungi in the Phylum Ascomycota. Pyrenomycetes are economically and ecologically important since they contain the “fruit flies” of the fungal world (e.g. Neurospora crassa, Podospora anserina, Sordaria fimicola) as well as significant destructive pathogens including the causative agents of chestnut blight (Cryphonectria parasitica), dutch elm disease (Ophiostoma ulmi), and the recently discovered beech bark disease (Nectria coccinea). Pyrenomycetes occur in all ecosystems and geographical areas throughout the world primarily as saprobes where they play an integral role in nutrient cycling and decomposition of organic matter. Most pyrenomycetes are not obvious to the untrained eye since their dark colored (brown or black) fruiting bodies are typically less than 1 mm in diameter and occur as partially immersed or superficial inhabitants of living and dead plant parts. General collectors often overlook most species except those with brightly colored or macroscopic fruiting structures.

This database comprises years of work by Dr. Sabine Huhndorf (The Field Museum, Chicago, IL) and Dr. Andrew Miller (Illinois Natural History Survey, Champaign, IL) on pyrenomycetes throughout the world. Users can either browse all records or use the searchable database to find images and detailed nomenclatural and taxonomic information for a particular species. Drop-down menus are provided to narrow searches to those taxa in a particular class or subclass, taxa with ascomata (fruiting bodies) in a specific arrangement, or taxa with a certain ascospore morphology. Links to GenBank Accession records are provided for those taxa that have been sequenced.

*Note: The terms “Pyrenomycetes” and “Loculoascomycetes” are no longer used in a taxonomic sense and have been replaced by the terms Sordariomycetes and Dothideomycetes, respectively, to refer to two major Classes of fungi in the Phylum Ascomycota. The authors, however, reserve the right to use the term “pyrenomycetes” in a general sense to refer to the fungi that occur in these two classes.

Cite as: Miller AN, Huhndorf SM. 2009. Pyrenomycetes of the World: (Accessed on <date>).


Funding: NSF grants DEB-9521926, DEB-0118695, and DEB-0072684 to SMH; NSF grants DEB-0515558, DEB-0822487, and DEB-0844722, and DLIA grant DLIA2005-11 to ANM.

Contributing Specialists (pro parte): Chaetosphaeria - Fernando Fernandez; Coronophorales - George K. Mugambi; Diatrypaceae – Åsa Nyberg; Hypocreales – Gary Samuels; Hysteriales and Tubeufiaceae - Itthayakorn (Pam) Promputtha.

Website Design/IT: Jeffrey Haas

Contributing Herbaria/other institutions: ILLS, F, NY, EA, INBio

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.