The word “zygomycota” is composed of two Greek roots; yoke and fungus. It refers to the conjugation of asexual sporangiospores, also known as endospores, in the formation of zygospores.

Numerous species of molds are from this phylum of fungi. Conjugating fungi can be saprobic, but most are parasitic, depending on insects, protists and other invertebrates. Some of them are pathogenic as well. They are believed to be the most primitive of the fungi, existing from 600 to 1,400 million years ago.

6 orders, 29 families, 120 genera are found in this phylum. Fewer than 1000 species of zygomycota are known to exist.

Hyphae of zygomycota do not contain one nucleus per cell, but have mycelia composed of extended multinucleate, haploid hyphae.

Here are a few Zygomycetes:


Amoebophilus – The 3 species prey on unsuspecting amoeba. Using a spore (conidium), the fungus clings to the outer membrane of the amoeba. Then, the fungus penetrates through the amoeba through a narrow peg through the primary attack spore. A triangular- shaped feeding cell develops from the penetration peg and channels food from the amoeba to itself. Furthermore, spores are formed outside the amoeba, and are pulled along by the amoeba. These spores later break off and are engulfed by nearby bacterial cells. Advantageously, bacteria are designed to attack fungal spores, assisting the fungus in its mode of operation. Eventually, the amoeba dies due to the lack of nutrients.   


 Syncephalastrum racemosum: Cylindrical sporangia (=Merosporangia) with spores produced in a single column. Merosporangia are borne on a swollen vesicle on top of the sporangiophore.  



Cunninghamella echinulata







~ by mb0804myco on July 29, 2008.

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