Welcome to the Fungal Spore Photo Website!
The purpose of this site is to share photos of the spores of basidiomycetes (mushrooms and related fungi), ascomycetes (sac fungi) and myxomycetes (slime molds). There are plenty of good photographs of these species on line, but very few photos of their spores.
This website is hosted by Michelle Lierl, M.D. I am a pediatric allergist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. I am researching the possible role of basidiomycete, ascomycete and myxomycete spores as aeroallergens. We have no commercially available allergy testing extracts for these spores, so I have been collecting spores and making extracts for allergy skin testing. In the process of learning to identify the many species of fungi in our environment, I found that I often wanted to look at the microscopic characteristics of my specimens in order to confirm that my identification was correct. There are many excellent guidebooks available that provide descriptions of the spores and other microscopic characteristics. However, “a picture is worth a thousand words”; it would have been helpful to me to be able to see that my specimen’s spores looked just like the spore photos of a reference source. Since there was no such reference source available, I decided to start this website to share the photos I have.
I have been greatly assisted in this project by Mr. Dick Grimm, a founding member and past president of the Ohio Mushroom Society. Mr. Grimm has taught and mentored countless students in mushroom identification, including myself. He also very kindly supplied me with spores from many species of mushroom that he had collected and identified. Many of the basidiomycete spore photos on this site were made from Mr. Grimm’s specimens. In other cases I collected the spores myself; if I was not sure of the identification I sent photos and descriptions to Mr. Grimm or other members of the Ohio Mushroom Society who confirmed or corrected the species identification.
I am also grateful to Dr. Steven L. Stephenson, Research Professor, University of Arkansas for his help with the myxomycete identifications. Dr. Stephenson kindly sent myxomycete specimens from his extensive collection, and confirmed the identifications of specimens that I sent to him. All of the myxomycete spore photos on this website are from specimens whose identity was confirmed by Dr. Stephenson.
This site will be an ongoing project. More photos will be added as they are acquired. If you dispute the identification of a species based on the appearance of the spores, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have spore photos of your own that you would like to add to this site, you can send them to me at the same e-mail, and I will include them with credit to you if I agree with your species identification.
I have included microphotographs of the spore at 400x magnification, because this is the magnification often used for identifying and counting spores on air samples. However, many of the identifying features are better seen on the 1000x images.
I have not included macroscopic photographs of most of the basidiomycetes or ascomycetes, as there are many excellent websites featuring photographs of these fungi. I have included photographs of the macroscopic appearance of the myxomycetes where available.