Chytridiomycota are a division of zoosporic organisms in the kingdom Fungi , informally known as chytrids. Chytrids are saprobic , degrading refractory materials such as chitin and keratin , and sometimes act as parasites. Species of Chytridiomycota have traditionally been delineated and classified based on development, morphology, substrate, and method of zoospore discharge. In an older and more restricted sense not used here , the term "chytrids" referred just to those fungi in the class Chytridiomycetes. The chytrids have also been included among the Protoctista , [7] but are now regularly classed as fungi.

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Systematics and Evolution pp Cite as. The Chytridiomycota comprises a monophyletic group of zoosporic fungi phylogenetically related to the true fungi, in contrast to pseudofungi Cavalier-Smith such as the Oomycota.

They have been classified in the kingdom Protista Whittaker and Protoctista Margulis et al. The Chytridiomycota are probably a very ancient group with extant forms possibly little changed from early times of eukaryotic evolution.

They may be the direct ancestoral group to higher fungi but the exact relationship remains uncertain. In this treatment there is a single class Chytridiomycetes and five orders Chytridiales, Spizellomycetales, Blastocladiales, Monoblepharidales, and Neocallimastigales. Collectively, the Chytridiomycota are often referred to as chytrids. Originally, this term was applicable just to the order Chytridiales, but it has been used for the entire group by so many authors in recent times that the broader meaning has become established.

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24.2: Classifications of Fungi

The kingdom Fungi contains five major phyla that were established according to their mode of sexual reproduction or using molecular data. Not all mycologists agree with this scheme. Rapid advances in molecular biology and the sequencing of 18S rRNA a part of RNA continue to show new and different relationships between the various categories of fungi. The five true phyla of fungi are the Chytridiomycota Chytrids , the Zygomycota conjugated fungi , the Ascomycota sac fungi , the Basidiomycota club fungi and the recently described Phylum Glomeromycota. An older classification scheme grouped fungi that strictly use asexual reproduction into Deuteromycota, a group that is no longer in use. The only class in the Phylum Chytridiomycota is the Chytridiomycetes.



The Chytridiomycota, often called chytrids, are unique among all fungi in having motile stages in their life cycles; no other fungi have this trait. These motile stages take the form of zoospores, single cells with a single posterior at the rear flagellum. Obviously these sperm-like cells require water and it is thus not surprising that chytrids live in perminantly or temporarily aquatic habitats. Most chytrids are structually fairly simple. For example, the photo at left shows a species of the chytrid genus Rhizophidium growing on the surface of a grain of pine pollen. The organism is perfectly spherical and attached to the pollen grain by tiny invisible here threads extended into the interior of the pollen grain.

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