A fungus for mature audiences

We’ve had a good deal of rain lately and yesterday was the first pleasant, dry, day we’ve had for quite some time. I was desperate for some photos and was out with the camera right after morning chores. The most noteworthy subject I came across was a fungus belonging to a group called the Stinkhorns. The specimen shown below belongs to a genus which bears the unfortunate, though entirely accurate (in morphological terms), moniker of Phallus. Believe it or not the topic of spore dispersal among the fungi has been the subject of this blog before. This time I can report that the Stinkhorns are known for production of a slimy exudate which contains spores and a nasty material, putrescine, which smells like decaying flesh and attracts flies. When the flies alight, they ingest the slime and and get it on their feet as well. Then off they go, providing an effective means of spore dispersal. The images in the gallery show a fly walking across the fungal fruiting body, what I thought was a rather impressionistic view of the south-end of a north-bound fly, the ball-and-stick chemical structure of putrescine, and another view of a prospecting fly.

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