A. Braun, 1851
Chytridiomycota is a phylum of the Fungi kingdom. The name refers to the chytridium (from the Greek chytridion, meaning "little pot"): the structure containing unreleased spores. In older classifications, chytrids (except the recently established order Spizellomycetales) were placed in the Class Phycomycetes under the Subdivision Myxomycophyta of the Kingdom Fungi. Also, in an older and more restricted sense (not used here), the term "chytrids" referred just to those fungi in the order Chytridiales.
The chytrids are the most primitive of the fungi and are mostly saprobic (degrading chitin and keratin). Many chytrids are aquatic (mostly found in fresh water). There are approximately 1,000 chytrid species, in 127 genera, distributed among 5 orders.
Both zoospores and gametes of the chytrids are mobile by their flagella, one whiplash per individual. The thalli are coenocytic and usually form no true mycelium (having rhizoids instead). Some species are unicellular.
Some chytrid species are known to kill amphibians in large numbers. The actual process, however, is unknown. The infection is referred to as chytridiomycosis. Decline in frog populations led to the discovery of chytridomycosis in 1998 in Australia and Panama. Chytrids may also infect plant species; in particular, maize-attacking and alfalfa-attacking species have been described. Synchytrium endobioticum is an important potato pathogen.
- Chytrid Fungi Online: by the University of Alabama
- Impact of chytrid fungus on frogs (Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife)
- 'Amphibian Ark' aims to save frogs from fungus
- The Aquarium Wiki on Chytrid Fungus and how it impacts amphibians kept as domestic pets.