19 October, 2008

Faunal Feast on Fungal Phallus

Stink-horn Fungi
This fungus is also known as the bridal veil fungus because of the lacy fringe.
Other species can be red or orange. Size varies from 10 to 20 centimetres. They are usually associated with rotting wood and wood chips in moist gardens are a haven for them. The white one was photographed in Cairns at the Centenary Lakes, while the orange one is breaking down the wood chips in my vegetable garden. These of course are the fruiting bodies. Most of the fungus is out of sight.
Did you notice all the flies? The flies are attracted by the sour sweet smell of the fungus. While feeding on the provided fluids the flies are picking up spores which they can then spread around to other potential fungus growing sites.
The availability of free flies attracts predators. In my garden dragonflies make a happy hunting ground of the fungal bounty. In Cairns the Green Ants make good use of the supply.
This one has itself a meal. But then the competition moves in!
I did not stay around to watch what happened in this tug of war. Sometimes when conditions are good, the fungus produces a mass fruiting. Before they erupt they look like puff ball fungi.

No comments: