Thursday, 1 April 2010

Fungi

The Wet Season brings out the best in fungi. It has been said that fungi probably return more nutrients to the rainforest than do insects. They are everywhere and in huge numbers. Many are so small or live in places that they are easily overlooked. After many weeks of rain, they just "appear".

These puff balls cover an entire downed log that has been setting in the forest for years. But this is the first time I have ever seen such a bloom of these fungi. Expecting to find many insects and other creatures feasting on the fungi, I was disappointed not to find a one the other night. But I'll keep looking.

A portion of the fallen tree laden with Puff Balls.

Puff Balls are bags of spores that blow around in the wind or are tracked around by creatures that walk over them. You can just imagine the numbers of spores represented here.


This is a wonderful Stinkhorn Fungus that really looks artificial. Some are in excess of 50 mm in length and stick out of the soil, sometimes in a linear sequence of a metre or more. This is the first year I have seen such fungi.

Fungi attack all sorts of organisms. This katydid (Austrosalomona sp. 10) may not have been killed by the fungus, but it is being consumed by a fungus that will return its components to the soil. Fungi have a most important role in recycling.

The Australian National Botanic Gardens has a wonderful Fungus Site that will educate you on the kinds of fungi and their role in our environment. It is well worth a look.

1 comment:

Mosura said...

That's an amazing cluster of puff balls. Great find!