Whether a spore results from the sexual union of two similar gametes (zygospore) or from the fertilization of an egg-cell by the protoplasm of a male organ (oospore); or is developed asexually as a motile (zoospore) or a quiescent body cut off from a hypha (conidium) or developed along its course (oidium or chlamydospore), or in its protoplasm (endospore), are matters of importance which have their uses in the classification and terminology of spores, though in many respects they are largely of academic interest.
A simple sporophore may be merely a single short hypha, the end of which stops growing and becomes cut off as a conidium by the formation of a septum, which then splits and allows the conidium to fall.
More generally the hypha below the septum grows forwards again, and repeats this process several times before the terminal conidium falls, and so a chain of conidia results, the oldest of which terminates the series (Erysiphe); when the primary branch has thus formed a basipetal series, branches may arise from below and again repeat this process, thus forming a tuft (Penicillium).
A second type is developed as follows: the primary hypha forms a septum below its apex as before, and the terminal conidium, thus abstricted, puts out a branch at its apex, which starts as a mere point and rapidly swells to a second conidium; this repeats the process, and so on, so that we now have a chain of conidia developed in acropetal succession, the oldest being below, and, as in Penicillium, &c., branches put forth lower down may repeat the process (Hormodendron).
C, Conidium emitting zooC. Formation of zoospores by spores.
Each "conidium" contains numerous nuclei and is really a zoosporangium, as after dispersal it breaks up into a number of zoospores.
They are characterized especially by the zygospores, but the asexual organs (sporangia) exhibit interesting series of changes, beginning with the typical sporangium of Mucor containing numerous endospores, passing to cases where, as in Thamnidium, these are accompanied with more numerous small sporangia (sporangioles) containing few spores, and thence to Chaetocladium and Piptocephalis, where the sporangioles form but one spore and fall and germinate as a whole; that is to say, the monosporous sporangium has become a conidium, and Brefeld regarded these and similar series of changes as explaining the relation of ascus to conidium in higher fungi.
According to his view, the ascus is in effect the sporangium with several spores, the conidium the sporangiole with but one spore, and that not loose but fused with the sporangiole wall.