Friday, July 17, 2015

Name that Fungi: Orange Stinky Edition

Well here's a fungus that wasn't very hard to identify:

That baby there is a Phallus rubicundus and there's almost nothing appealing about this guy (other than how cool he looks). As a human, he's not really our friend, what with being part of the stinkhorn family and all (and thus, stinking). But if you're a fly, he's positively bad news:

But a more effective form of spore dispersal begins when the flies feverishly sponge up the sticky, stinky syrup, consuming as much as 80 percent of their body weight in stinkhorn slime in a single day. The putrid breakfast doesn't sit well with a fly's digestive system. When a bout of diarrhea ensues, intact stinkhorn spores make their exit. Each resulting fly speck can contain more than 22 million stinkhorn spores.

Now that's a rough morning if you're a fly.

Incidentally, I happened to catch this photo at just the right time. If this timeline is to be believed, then by noon, this would have been little more than a wilting stalk.

Crazy world, the world of fungi.

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