Members: 20 genera; 100 species.
Fungi; corticoid, thin crusts loosely attached to the substrate; inconspicuous forms; great diversity in life strategies; hymenal surface is smooth when dry, without warts or papillae and may appear wrinkled when fresh; mostly whitish, sometimes greenish-bluish, rarely brownish; hyphal system is strictly monomitic, with transparent hyphae that have smooth surface,s ometimes covered with granules or crystals; rarely cystidia, sometimes little differentiated;mature basidia are club-shaped; spores are non-amyloid, smooth surface, normally spherical to ellipsoid.
Atheliaceae had been grouped together with the other corticioid basidiomycetes in an artificial group called Corticiaceae by Marinus Anton Donk in 1964.
In a 2004 phylogenetic study based on molecular and morphological characters, representatives of Atheliaceae genera Piloderma, Athelia, Tylospora, Byssocorticium, Athelopsis, and Amphinema formed a monophyletic clade. Many genera have been moved to other families like Amylocorticiaceae, Albatrellaceae, and Hygrophoraceae.
Atheliales was found to be closely related to the Agaricales and Boletales.