Fungi of Sarawak
(Malaysian Borneo)
Bryn Dentinger1, Jean-Marc Moncalvo2, & Sepiah Muid3
1Mycology Section, Jodrell Laboratory, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3DS, U.K.
2Department of Natural History, Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queen's Park, Toronto, ON M5S 2C6 and Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto, 25 Willcocks, Toronto, ON M5S 3B2, Canada
3Faculty of Resource Science and Technology, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, 94300 Kota Samarahan, Malaysia, Sarawak
We are grateful to Sarawak Forestry for providing permits and facilitating fieldwork for this project

Filboletus manipularis natural light Filboletus manipularis bioluminescent
The spectacular bioluminescent Filoboletus manipularis is a common wood-dwelling mushroom in Sarawak.

We are documenting the diversity of fungi in Sarawak, focusing on the macrofungi in their widest sense (i.e. Agaricomycetes and some Ascomycota) using field surveys and DNA barcoding.
Map of Borneo

Our focus is on putatively ectomycorrhizal fungi, namely fleshy terrestrial mushrooms that belong to groups with well-established ectomycorrhizal associations elsewhere (e.g., boletes, chanterelles, amanitas, russulas, etc.), although we also collect more broadly in an attempt to capture as much of the diversity as possible. To date, we have spent most of our time at Gunung Mulu National Park and Batang Ai National Park.
Jump to:
Puffballs and their ilk
Truffles and truffle-like fungi
Russula and Lactarius
other Agarics
Chanterelles and allies
Polypores, bracket fungi, and corticoids
tuak recipe


With elevations ranging from sea level to 2,423 m on Gunung Murud, and myriad underlying geological types affecting landscape and soil characteristics (e.g., limestone, alluvial, sandstone, shale, etc.), Sarawak is remarkably rich in habitats. We are targeting collections from many of these habitats, defined primarily by their vegetation types, including lowland mixed dipterocarp (upper left), montane (Fagaceae-dominated) (upper right), kerangas (lower left), and upper montane mossy rhododendron (lower right) forest.
lowland mixed dipterocarp forest montane Fagaceae forest
kerangas forest upper montane mossy rhododendron forest

Following is a set of examples of fungi we have documented through our surveys. This set is far from exhaustive and we will continually be updating this site as we add to our collections and knowledge of the fungi of Sarawak. Please also note that the identifications here are provisional -- we reserve the right to change them at any time (but we do make our best effort to put up correct names from the start). For any suggestions, corrections, questions, or even complaints, feel free to email me: b.dentinger ("a" to the "t")


Tylopilus pernanus (left; Gunung Mulu), Pulveroboletus frians (Corner) Singer (right; Batang Ai)
Tylopilus pernanus profile Tylopilus pernanus underside

Tylopilus sp. (Austroboletus?) (not collected; Bako National Park)
unknown cf. Tylopilus sp. profile unknown cf. Tylopilus sp. below

Tylopilus nigerrimus (Gunung Mulu)
Tylopilus nigerrimus profile Tylopilus nigerrimus below

Heimioporus punctisporus (Corner) E. Horak (Bako National Park)
Heimioporus punctisporus profile Heimioporus punctisporus below

Boletus butoh-anturaya sp. nov. nom. prov. (Batang Ai) is known locally as "kulat butoh antu raya" (Iban), which translates as "penis of the greatest ghost of ghosts mushroom"; reportedly poisonous
Boletus butoh-anturaya sp. nov. nom. prov. profile Boletus butoh-anturaya sp. nov. nom. prov. below

Phylloporus spp. are gilled boletes, although some have true pores that are wide and stretched near the stalk.
Phylloporus sp. 1 Phylloporus sp. 2
Phylloporus sp. 3 profile Phylloporus sp. 3 below

Puffballs and their ilk

The so-called "gelatinous stalked puffballs" (Calostoma spp.) are conspicuous and abundant in Sarawak. Calostoma pachystelis (left; this collection from Batang Ai), known locally as the "eyeball of the wild boar" (Iban) or "eyeball of the deer" (Penan) is one of the most common putatively ectomycorrhizal mushrooms in Sarawak. The tiny Calostoma junghuhni (right; Gunung Mulu) is also common in the Fagaceae-dominated forests.
Calostoma pachystelis Calostoma junghuhni

Truffles and truffle-like fungi

Mycoamaranthus cambodgensis (left; Batang Ai), Spongiforma polychromus sp. nov. nom. prov. (right; Batang Ai)
Mycoamaranthus cambodgensis Spongiforma  polychromus sp. nov. nom. prov.

Russula and Lactarius

Like almost everywhere, Russula and Lactarius are the most common putative ectomycorrhizal mushrooms encountered in Sarawak. There seems to be no shortage of them, in all sizes and colors. TOP: Russula spp. MIDDLE: Russula sp. (left) and Lactarius sp. (right). BOTTOM: Lactarius spp. (Batang Ai)
Russula sp. 1 Russula sp. 2
Russula sp. 3 Lactarius sp. 1
Lactarius sp. 2 Lactarius sp. 3

other Agarics

Cortinarius spp. Typically affiliated with north-temperate regions, this genus is not often reported from dipterocarp forest. So far, all of our collections of Cortinarius come from Gunung Mulu.
Cortinarius sp. 1 Cortinarius sp. 2
Cortinarius sp. 3
Cortinarius sp. 4
Cortinarius sp. 5 profile Cortinarius sp. 5 below

Termitomyces spp. are cultivated by termites and are often found emerging from underground termite nests at the end of long "pseudorhiza" that extend from a chamber containing the fungus garden deep within the soil. These mushrooms are not only fascinating subjects of natural history, they are edible and highly prized for their flavor throughout the Palaeotropics.
Termitomyces sp. Ibun with Termitomyces

Agaricus crocopeplus (Batang Ai)
Agaricus crocopeplus

Hygrocybe sp. (Gunung Mulu)
Hygrocybe sp. 1

Chanterelles and allies

Local relatives of the chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius; known from Europe and North America) are common in Sarawak, both in dipterocarp and, more often, Fagaceae forests. On the left is Cantharellus cuticulatus, a large and common species. On the right is a Craterellus sp., collected from lowland mixed dipterocarp forest at Gunung Mulu.
Cantharellus cuticulatus Craterellus sp.

Pterygellus armeniacus (left; Gunung Mulu) superficially resembles a chanterelle in color and radially wrinkled hymenophore, but its tough texture allows for immediate recognition in the field.
Pterygellus armeniacus

Phylogenetically related to chanterelles, Hydnum spp. look totally different with their tooth-like spines rather than undulations or gills. These have been fond in both dipterocarp- and Fagaceae-dominated forests at Gunung Mulu.
Hydnum sp.

Polypores, bracket fungi, and corticoids

FIRST ROW: Tomophagus cattienensis (Gunung Mulu). MIDDLE ROW: Laetiporus sp. (Batang Ai). BOTTOM ROW: Amauroderma rude (Batang Ai).
Tomophagus cattienensis
Laetiporus sp.
Amauroderma rude


This research is generously supported by the Bentham-Moxon Trust (B. Dentinger) and the Natural History Fieldwork Fund of the Royal Ontario Museum (J.-M. Moncalvo). We are also very grateful to Sarawak Forestry for providing permits and facilitating fieldwork, and to Brian Clark (Gunung Mulu National Park) and Winnie Endun Thomas Akin (Batang Ai) for their support. We are also exceedingly grateful to the Iban, Penan, and Berawan peoples for field assistance and for sharing their intimate knowledge of Sarawak fungi.