Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Magnificent Phallus Indusiatus

This mushroom has many many names to it such as the; veiled lady, long net stinkhorn, crinoline stinkhorn, bamboo pith, bamboo fungus, and was previously identified as the Dictyorphoria Indusitaus. These suckers get there name from the veil hanging from the cap. Hopefully now you recognize one of those names! Alright, this mushroom is mostly found in tropical forests because of the rich soil in these locations. Their life span runs pretty short, they survive for about 12 hours and then end up back into the ground. They originally start off looking like an egg and then emerge, having a veil hang down from the top. This veil is referred to as a indusium. The indusium can grow to the ground or shrink back up to the cap which is interesting when watching in a time lapse. The cap itself can grow about 4cms around and is usually in different colors but mostly a brownish color.

The gross thing about these mushrooms is that they have such a strong smell in which it attracts other gross visitors like flies. Ahhh, how much we love flies. Wanna know something else interesting and gross? Many Asian cuisines and markets like to serve these as a tasty meal. Okay, maybe it's not that disgusting but if this mushroom has a strong foul smell then how can one eat it? Apparently, eating it is not enough because many places use it as a medicine to treat disease of gastric or of any inflammatory problem. This mushroom can also possibly help improve the central nervous system, crazy right? What caught my eye was its appearance, looking at this mushroom makes me think of a bride. I know you see it too! Have any mushroom requests, let me know and I'll do my best to fill you in on the scoop!

I Promise This Is Not A Rant!

How can one simply express their love for mushrooms? Well, let’s give it a go. Every single day, I walk to work. Some days, I don't even work but still stroll around the neighborhood on an adventure. I like to walk around taking pictures of interesting things which is basically what mushrooms are. Capturing that moment is amazing, to walk by the development of fungi is outstanding. I can't express it  so let me try to explain my love for them. Think about something you love. Have you thought of it? Maybe a hobby you have or something you like to do, well that's how I feel towards different sites of fungi. I think it's amazing how something that helps our world by being a decomposer or simply becoming a use as herbs or medicine is everywhere. I enjoy Humboldt County because many people here tend to go mushroom hunting. Since we basically are the mushroom town, we have perfect weather for it to so I can't blame people for loving it. I can't wait until I learn more about fungi so I can go on a forest adventure and identify as many as possible.

What can I not stand about fungi? Nothing really but we are facing a problem in the UK. There are illegal foragers destroying our beautiful fungi. This is what I cannot stand. Many gangs are picking all these fungi to sell to restaurants or other consumers. This is almost the same as cutting down trees, mushrooms help our environment! This is not only happening in the UK but basically anywhere that has a great growth in fungi, I just hate hearing about such destruction being caused. Half of the mushrooms these people pick get tossed away which is just unnecessary to begin with. I can rant about this all day but I'll save you guys by not doing that. For those who love fungi, keep it real and continue what you do because there is so much to fungi and mushrooms and even parasitic fungi. Many can learn and some people have created medicines from different types of fungi which is insanely interesting!

The Apocalyptic War Between Insects and Fungi!

Have you ever seen an ant turn into a zombie? The specific parasitic fungus is called Cordyceps, this uses the body as a shell to grow in and reproduce. In this ants case the ant is not living anymore. So what makes it cool and spooky? Well, once this fungus takes over it's victims body and controls its mind it will leave this ant doomed. For this ants case, it'll take about 3 weeks for the fungus to completely develop from the exterior of the ant. Usually spores appear first and the fungus breaks through its head and the rest of its body. Usually then these types of fungus effects the insect causing the host to climb to the tops of branches or leaves so then it can be eaten and continue its cycle. Something interesting about these ants is that once another fellow ant notices that one of his buddies has gotten the terrible fungus, it carries it away from the colony so none get infected.

Ants are not the only ones to get attacked,
our friendly snails have been targeted as well. A parasitic worm called Leucochloridium takes over the snails eyes. What do these
worms do? They pulsate causing the snails to look they're at a rave! The point of the pulsating method is to mimic a maggot or caterpillar so that it'll get eaten by a predator such as a bird. Once this sneaky fungi makes his way into the bird it will reproduce in its stomach.
This is where it gets pretty gnarly and gross, the eggs are released into the birds feces and you can only guess where this goes next. New snails come along and eat that up! So what happens next? The whole process happens over and over again, wiping out many snails. The fungi inside the snail usually grows from a white tissue into some sort of tumor. Next, this fungus leaves larvae inside of the snails eye stalks, and you can fill in the rest. To be honest, i'm left feeling bad for all these insects that die out.