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Apr 28, 2011: Colus pusillus

Colus pusillus

Today's entry was written by Claire:

This vibrant photograph of the fungus Colus pusillus was taken by andrikkos (andrikkos_from_droushia@Flickr). Much thanks andrikkos! I was intrigued by the two other posted photographs from andrikkos as well: Colus pusillus 2 and Colus pusillus 3.

Belonging to Phallaceae, or the stinkhorn family, the fruiting bodies produce sticky masses of fetid smelling spores called gleba. The foul smell is intended to attract flies and other detritus-loving organisms that aid in dispersal when the sticky spores coat the insect's bodies. This particular fungus bears the common name craypot stinkhorn, and the visible fruiting parts, like others in Phallaceae, originate from an egg-shaped structure that emerges from the forest floor. Additional detailed pictures of this fungus are on Michael Kuo's MushroomExpert.com: Colus pusillus.

Colus pusillus bears its gleba on the pileus, the underside of the fragile receptaculum (the cage-like structure - on a common mushroom-type structure this would be the underside of the cap). Colus pusillus is thought to only occur in Australia but the few species described to this genus are widespread throughout the world. From Mycobank, here is the original description of Colus pusillus.

If you know more about this Australian fungus, please feel free to correct or comment!

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