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Temporal range: Early Devonian–Recent (but see text)
Clockwise from top left: Amanita muscaria, a basidiomycete; Sarcoscypha coccinea, an ascomycete; bread covered in mold; a chytrid; a Penicillium conidiophore. Scientific classification
(L., 1753) R.T. Moore, 1980
Dikarya (inc. Deuteromycota)
Subphyla Incertae sedis
A fungus (pronounced /ˈfʌŋɡəs/; pl. fungi or funguses) is a member of a large group of eukaryotic organisms that includes microorganisms such as yeasts and molds (British English: moulds), as well as the more familiar mushrooms. These organisms are classified as a kingdom, Fungi, which is separate from plants, animals, and bacteria. One major difference is that fungal cells have cell walls that contain chitin, unlike the cell walls of plants, which contain cellulose. These and other differences show that the fungi form a single group of related organisms, named the Eumycota (true fungi or Eumycetes), that share a common ancestor (a monophyletic group). This fungal group is distinct from the structurally similar myxomycetes (slime molds) and oomycetes (water molds). The discipline of biology devoted to the study of fungi is known as mycology, which is often regarded as a branch of botany, even though genetic studies have shown that fungi are more closely related to animals than to plants. Abundant worldwide, most fungi are inconspicuous because of the small size...