Thursday, 23 February 2012

Some further thoughts on Phallic fungi

I have posted previously about the appearance of Phallus rubicundus in a pile of eucalypt mulch a bit up from our house.  The first date on which I noticed this was 13 November 2011: this was 5 days after a good drop of rain.  It reappeared - in the same spot - on 8 January but very little rain in the preceding period.

It has now arisen again on  23 February (again a few days after heavy rain).  Presumably the same mycelium is down there pumping up fruiting bodies as it gets enough energy and moisture.  Here are the protuberances as spotted at 11:03.
The next two posts show close ups of the fruiting bodies, complete with flies attracted by the 'scent' (OK, perhaps stench is the better word).

I revisited the site 2 hours later and the fruiting bodies had pretty much collapsed.
As  I commented in my response to Boobook (below)  I went back to check the situation a day later at 08:30.  There were three new fruit-bodies, with much darker 'caps' than yesterday.
 Note the 'fallen' remnant of yesterday's growth.
As shown in this close-up, ants were the visitors at this time of day.

I revisited the site (not hard, it is about 50 metres from our house) at 1400.  All the fruiting bodies had been snapped off and apparently taken away.  I have no proof of what has done this, but the usual suspects for vegetative vandalism around here are juvenile Crimson Rosellas, of which we have plenty at present.

On 7 March I noticed approximately 14 Fruiting bodies (or their remains) in the mulch pile.
Later in the day I found - by chance another one growing on the remains of a dead tree (embedded in the soil, so a very similar effect to mulch) at Mulligans Flat within the Canberra Nature Park system.

The home mulch site had a further 2 horns on 11 March and again on 14 March.

On 15 March a friend whose property is about 3km away in a straight line sent a photo of some of these fungi from that site.  They seem to be growing in grassland again! My friend has commented
"As we have had no stock on the place for about the last five/six years, had pasture improved over the thirty odd years previously and slash occasionally as a fire containment measure, there is plenty of rotting vegetation around to provide them with sustenance."
To continue the story, while in our top paddock whupping a bit more of the Tall Fleabane I found a single fruiting body there.  It was some distance from the nearest timber and there didn't look to be a lot of rotting grass either.  The only other plant in the vicinity was Lomandra sp.  According to Google Earth this is 550m as the spore might fly from the previously found mycelium.

The site in Wanniassa covered in a comment to an earlier post has reported more fruiting bodies on 22 March. Another site, in Gidabal St Aranda reported them in late March.

On 4 April there were 14 fruiting bodies on my main site.  I was working in the area on 3/3 and none were evident.   Some of them had already collapsed by 8am.  Here are three very nifty images.


Yet more fruiting bodies on 16 April.



2 comments:

Boobook said...

Interesting. I had no idea they were so 'short-lived'.

Flabmeister said...

Thanks for the comment Boobook. I was also surprised that they had 'gone over' so quickly. A nearby 'bump' in the mulch suggesst there might have been another fruiting body emerging so I shall monitor closely.

Martin