Red Cage Fungus (with Blow-Flies)

Carol Knudsen

Penguin, Australia

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Artist's Description

…This is disgusting I know and a little out of focus…but I took it not long ago when we had lots of rain here in Queensland…they come up in woody type mulch…Below I have an image I took of one of these without blowflies (much nicer)…thought it may be interesting to see….click below image to go to the page…

Phallaceae > Colus sp (Crabpot Stinkhorn)
Also known as Red Basket or Cage Fungi.
The Phallaceae, or stinkhorns, are a family of basidiomycetes which produce a foul-scented, phallus-shaped mushroom.

The fruit body initially appears like a whitish “egg” attached to the ground at the base by cords called rhizomorphs. The egg has a delicate, leathery outer membrane enclosing the compressed lattice that surrounds a layer of olive-green spore-bearing slime called the gleba, which contains high levels of calcium that help protect the developing fruit body during development. As the egg ruptures and the fruit body expands, the gleba is carried upward on the inner surfaces of the spongy lattice, and the egg membrane remains as a volva around the base of the structure. The fruit body can reach heights of up to 20 cm (7.9 in). The color of the fruit body, which can range from pink to orange to red, results primarily from the carotenoid pigments lycopene and beta-carotene. The gleba has a fetid odor, somewhat like rotting meat, which attracts flies and other insects to help disperse its spores. Although the edibility of the fungus is not known with certainty, its odor would deter most from consuming it. wikipedia

As a matter of interest if you google ‘red cage fungus’ you will see several of this image come up from people who copied it from my flickr account when I had it without my consent….Hmmmmmn!!!!

Taken with Nikon D80

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