Devil’s bolete

Rubroboletus satanas


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Assessment info
Habitat and Ecology
Use and Trade
Conservation Actions


Scientific name

Rubroboletus satanas


(Lenz) Kuan Zhao & Zhu L. Yang


Boletus satanas Lenz

Assessment info

IUCN Red List Category and Criteria

VU – Vulnerable C2a(i)

Date assessed

November 2020


Tofilovska, S.


Kost, G.

Mešić, A.


Karadelev, M.

Rusevska, K.

Gjorgonoski, M.


Miskovic, M.


Rubroboletus satanas is found in thermophilous broadleaf forests, forming ectomycorrhizal habitually with Quercus spp. but also with Fagus sylvatica, with preference for calcareous soils. It is registered at 42 sites in the country, broadly dispersed in 21 biogeographic regions. The total number of sites is guesstimated to be up to 126 sites, and an estimate can be made of ca. 1,680–2,520 mature individuals with a few individuals per subpopulation. The population trend is in decline attributable to deforestation leading to lessened habitat quality. The species is therefore assessed as Vulnerable under C2a(i) criterion.


Current population trend



According to the instructions for estimation of mature individuals provided by Dahlberg and Mueller (2011), an estimate can be made of ca. 1,680–2,520 based on the probable total number of sites in the country (ca. 84–126), the estimated number of functional individuals at each locality (estimated to be two), and the template of how many mature individuals each reproducing genotype may give rise to (the template used ten). At the observed sites, the species is reported as rare with only a few mature individuals per subpopulation. An ongoing decline in population size is due to deforestation leading to diminished habitat quality, chiefly by logging activities and creation of bare lands.

Habitat and Ecology



Habitat and Ecology

Rubroboletus satanas is found in thermophilous broadleaf forests, forming ectomycorrhiza usually with Quercus spp. but also with Fagus sylvatica, with preference for calcareous soils. Suitable environment is old, sunny, semi-open forests. The species produces sporocarps in late summer and autumn.

It is registered at 42 sites in the country, broadly dispersed in 21 biogeographic regions (Melovski et al. 2013), at elevation ranges between 300–1,400 m. Seven of the ascertained sites are located in national parks: Pelister – one site, Mavrovo – two sites, and Galicica – four sites, all located in the zone for sustainable use.

The species is prominent and well-known, yet it grows in broadleaf forests, oak and beech, which are the foremost types of forests in the country; thus, an estimation of probable sites was made (Dahlberg and Mueller 2011). The total number of sites is guesstimated to be by 2 to 3 times higher than the current number, resulting in a maximum of 126 sites.

Use and trade

Use and trade

It is a poisonous mushroom. Studies have indicated that the toxic protein, bolesatine, causes gastrointestinal symptoms of nausea and violent vomiting (Patocka 2018). The species is neither used nor is it a subject of trade.



The species is mainly threatened by loss, fragmentation and decline in health of oak and beech forest habitats due to logging, deforestation and diseases. In practice, the silvicultural system has clear-cutting in oak and in places of beech forests too; as a result, bare lands and even-aged forests are created while old growth forests are in decline (Trajkov et al. 2016, pers. obs.), posing a major threat to maintenance of a stable population. In North Macedonia, ca. 1% of forests are logged annually (Kolevska et al. 2017, State Statistics Office 2018), and illegal logging is considerably high, with additional 30% to legal wood extraction. Therefore, based on forest management and the effects of habitat destruction, the quality of the appropriate habitat for the species is continuously reducing, at the end the mycorrhizal network and symbiosis is usually destroyed which is the reason for population decline of this ectomycorrhizal species. Albeit the species is found in national parks, forest in NPs is also managed, only with restriction in regard to the logging system (Trajkov et al. 2016).

Furthermore, it is threatened by planting of nonnative species instead of oak species in the lower oak belt (Kolevska et al. 2017).

Diseases of the ectomycorrhizal partners Quercus spp. and Fagus sylvatica, with varying degrees of intensity, have been reported (DPRS 2019). Diseases of oakstands are primarily caused by Euproctis chrysorrhoe L., Lymantria dispar L. and species of the family Tortricidae while on beech trees by Rhynchaenus fagi L. (DPRS 2019).

Another threat is the destruction of fruit bodies while foraging edible species.

Conservation actions

Conservation actions

Conservation needed: The already confirmed locations where the species occurs ought to be protected against utilisation of the ectomycorrhizal partner, and they should be preserved in their natural condition.

Due to the type of silvicultural management of oak forest, with the purpose of ensuring a good habitat quality, it is vital to constitute forest reserves and practice of oak recruitment, and at certain paces to maintain semi-open conditions. At places of logging activities, instead of clear-cutting, trees of various age should be left on site.

Reforestation in the lower oak belt with alien tree species rather than oak should not be applied.

Research needed: Regular monitoring on an annual basis at the established sites, coupled with field research at the noted potential sites to facilitate exploration of the distribution and dynamics of occurrence of Rubroboletus satanas. Assessment of forest health and, if required, undertaking essential measures to preserve the health of forest stands. It is advisable to digitize and regularly update forest inventories and forestry plans. There is a necessity of elaboration of a habitat map.



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