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Chytridiomycota
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Chytridiomycota

Chytrids
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Fungi
Division:Chytridiomycota
Class:Chytridiomycetes
Order
  • Chytridiales
  • Spizellomycetales
  • Blastocladiales
  • Monoblepharidales
  • Neocallimasticales

Chytridiomycota is a division of the Fungi kingdom and contains only one class, Chytridiomycetes. The name refers to the chytridium (from the Greek, chytridion, meaning "little pot"): the structure containing unreleased spores. In older classifications, chytrid orders (except the recently established Neocallimasticales and Spizellomycetales) were placed in the Class Phycomycetes under the Subdivision Myxomycophyta of the Division 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 freshwater). There are approximately 1,000 chytrid species, in 1,000 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 frogs in large numbers by blocking the frogs' respiratory skins — first recognized in 1998 in Australia and Panama (see Decline in frog populations). There are also maize-attacking and alfalfa-attacking species.

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