An ascomycete characterized by loose, light-coloured, bramble-like fruiting structures (gymnothecia) containing spherical asci which in turn each enclose eight spores (ascospores). The ascospores are colourless to yellow, smooth, and oblate ( a flattened sphere). The gymnothecia usually bear some sort of hooked or recurved spines.

Several other genera of ascomycetes, all treated and discussed by Currah (1985, 1988), are similar to Gymnoascus. Gymnoascus species differ from all of these in having a combination of oblate, smooth ascospores and gymnothecia composed of distinctive hyphae forming a complete network around the mass of ascospores.

Occurring in soil, dung, or other habitats where hair or feathers are decaying. Anamorph: lacking. Ref: Currah, 1985, 1988; Orr, Kuehn, and Plunkett 1963