ISSN 1067-4136, Russian Journal of Ecology, 2007, Vol. 38, No. 3, pp. 214–216. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2007.
Original Russian Text © D.V. Leontyev, 2007, published in Ekologiya, 2007, Vol. 38, No. 3, pp. 233–235.
Myxomycetes, or plasmodial slime molds, are a
group of lower eukaryotes that grow and feed at the
motile phase of the life cycle, named plasmodium, and
produce complex fruiting bodies at the reproductive
phase. Most of them live on land, mainly in forest eco-
systems (Stephenson, 1988).
Phytocenotic connections of myxomycetes in the
forest–steppe zone of Ukraine have not been previously
studied. It remains unknown to what extent the forest-
steppe biota of these organisms depends on vegetation
and in which of its parameters (species richness, the
composition of dominant species, the proportion of
unique species, etc.) this dependence is manifested.
Speciﬁc features of the myxomycete biota in zonal phy-
tocenoses and phytocenoses that do not belong to the
zonal vegetation of this region are also unknown.
The Gomol’shanskie Lesa National Park (Kharkov
oblast, Ukraine) is a convenient location for studying
ecosystems of the eastern Ukrainian forest–steppe
(Tokars’kii et al., 2004). Vegetation in the park is
diverse. A major part of the park area is covered by
upland oak forests, either without admixtures (Querc-
eta) or with maple and linden (Acereto-Tilieto-Querc-
eta), which grow along the right bank of the Severskii
Donets River. Pine forest (Pineta (sylvestris)) extends
over a vast area of the sandy terrace on the left bank of
this river. Oak–pine forest (Querceto-Pineta) is formed
at the pine forest margins. Aspen forests (Populeta
(tremulae) and relict birch forests (Betuleta) grow in
moist depressions and gullies in the central part of the
park. Alder forests (Alneta (glutinosae)), white poplar
forests (Populeta (albae)), and willow stands (Saliceta)
occur in the ﬂoodplains of the Severskii Donets and
Sukhaya Gomol’sha rivers. Spruce forest (Piceeta) is
represented by several isolated stands (Gorelova and
Alekhin, 2002). Such a diversity of the plant cover pro-
vides conditions for analyzing the effect of the phyto-
cenotic factor on the biota of myxomycetes in the park.
This study was performed with myxomycete fruit-
ing bodies collected in the park during the summer–
autumn seasons (June to October) of 2000–2005 and in
December–January 2002–2003 and 2004–2005. More
than 1300 specimens were collected by conventional
methods (Novozhilov, 1993) mainly in the ﬁeld and
using the moist chamber method (about 300 chambers).
The species of myxomycetes were identiﬁed using
basic identiﬁcation keys (Nannenga-Bremekamp,
1991; Novozhilov, 1993; Ing, 1999; Mitchell, 2002).
A total of 143 species were collected (Leontyev,
2006). Their distribution over phytocenoses of the park
was nonuniform (table). The numbers of species in oak,
aspen, and pine forest were much greater than spruce,
birch, aspen, and willow stands.
In general, plant formations occupying greater areas
in the park were characterized by higher species rich-
ness of myxomycetes. However, the pine forest cover-
ing approximately half of the park area was inferior by
this parameter to a relatively small aspen forest. Possi-
bly, the myxomycete biota of the pine forest is impov-
erished due to the fact that this forest does not belong to
zonal phytocenoses of the forest–steppe. The same is
true of spruce and birch forests, in which the numbers
of recorded myxomycete species proved to be also
Species lists of myxomycetes found in different
plant formations were compared to determine the
degree of their overlap, i.e., the percentage of species
shared by the biotas of corresponding formations
(Semkin, 1987). The results show that the highest
degree of overlap is characteristic of oak formations:
67.8% of myxomycete species recorded in the oak for-
est with maple and linden occur in the pure oak forest,
and, vice versa, the myxomycete biota of the pure oak
forest shares 62.2% of species with the biota of the oak
forest with maple and linden.
Myxomycete species recorded in oak forests are
widely represented in several other formations. In the
Phytocenotic Connections of Myxomycetes (Myxomycota)
in Gomol’shanskie Lesa National Park, Ukraine
D. V. Leontyev
Kharkov National University, pl. Svobody 4, Kharkov, 61077 Ukraine
Received May 5, 2006
: myxomycetes, phytocenosis, taxonomic structure of biota, Gomol’shanskie Lesa National Park.