Honeydew Eater Scorias spongiosa (Schwainitz) Fries    Synonyms: Sooty Black Mold.
Kingdom Fungi   >   Phylum Ascomycota   >   Class Dothideomycetes   >   Order Capnodiales   >   Family Capnodiaceae   >   Genus Scorias   

Status:

Honeydew Eaters are a kind of sooty mold fungus that grows on concentrations of honeydew secreted by the Beech Blight Aphid (Grylloprociphilus imbricator), which feeds exclusively on American Beech (Fagus grandifolia) trees.

Description:

Honeydew Eaters form fungal mats that thicken first into a spongy, golden-yellow mound that may rise 2 or more inches above a leaf or twig surface. Later these masses turn black. They occur anywhere that the honeydew accumulates beneath the aphid colonies, including on leaves and stems of understory plants that are not hosts to the aphids.

Where to find:

On American Beech trees or nearby plants or other surfaces where Beech Blight Aphid honeydew accumulates.

Relationships:

Beech Blight Aphids occur in dense concentrations, in late summer and fall, usually on just a few branches within a beech tree. Their tight packing enables these insects to provide Scorias spongiosa with more nutrition than more solitary aphid species can supply to their fungi, which rely on a single layer of honeydew. Because Honeydew Eater colonies are large and often dark in color, they are easily observable. Sooty molds do not penetrate plant tissue and thus are not parasitic.

There are 285 records in the project database.

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Scorias spongiosa growing on an American Beech branch. This fungus thrives on the excrement of Beech Aphids. Photo by Jim Brighton. (MBP list)

Immature Scorias spongiosa in Howard Co., Maryland (9/24/2014). Photo by Nancy Magnusson. (MBP list)

Scorias spongiosa in Carroll Co., Maryland (11/10/2020). (c) Emilio Concari, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Emilio Concari. (MBP list)

Scorias spongiosa in Carroll Co., Maryland (11/10/2020). (c) Emilio Concari, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Emilio Concari. (MBP list)

Scorias spongiosa in Prince George's Co., Maryland (11/6/2014). Photo by Antonia Bookbinder. (MBP list)

Scorias spongiosa in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (5/15/2015). Photo by Bill Harms. (MBP list)

Scorias spongiosa in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (5/15/2015). Photo by Bill Harms. (MBP list)

Scorias spongiosa in Montgomery Co., Maryland (11/28/2020). (c) Katja Schulz, some rights reserved (CC BY). Photo by Katja Schulz via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Scorias spongiosa in Calvert Co., Maryland (10/5/2016). Photo by Ben Springer. (MBP list)

Scorias spongiosa in Carroll Co., Maryland (3/3/2021). (c) Emilio Concari, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Emilio Concari. (MBP list)

Scorias spongiosa in Caroline Co., Maryland (3/23/2013). When this fungus is present it often looks as if the base of the tree has been burned. Photo by Jim Brighton. (MBP list)

The charred appearance below Scorias spongiosa on an American Beech in Howard Co., Maryland (9/24/2014). Photo by Nancy Magnusson. (MBP list)

Scorias spongiosa in Talbot Co., Maryland (3/10/2013). (c) botanygirl, some rights reserved (CC BY). Photo by botanygirl via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Scorias spongiosa on American Beech in Cecil Co., Maryland (4/16/2015). Photo by David Sexton. (MBP list)

Scorias spongiosa in Howard Co., Maryland (4/14/2011). (c) Joanne and Robert Solem, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Joanne Solem. (MBP list)

Scorias spongiosa in Harford Co., Maryland (10/12/2014). Photo by Dave Webb. (MBP list)

Scorias spongiosa growth on an American Beech in Howard Co., Maryland (10/2/2014). The younger growth is light brown; the older is black. Photo by Nancy Magnusson. (MBP list)

Scorias spongiosa in Howard Co., Maryland (4/8/2019). Photo by Sue Muller. (MBP list)

Scorias spongiosa caused by Beech blight aphid honey dew secretion in Harford Co., Maryland (10/2/2017). Photo by Shannon Schade. (MBP list)

Scorias spongiosa in Talbot Co., Maryland (3/10/2013). (c) botanygirl, some rights reserved (CC BY). Photo by botanygirl via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Scorias spongiosa in Kent Co., Maryland (3/28/2017). Photo by Dan Small. (MBP list)

Scorias spongiosa in Baltimore Co., Maryland (3/30/2020). (c) benature07, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by benature07 via iNaturalist. (MBP list)


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