Colus pusillus

Today’s entry was written by Claire:

This vibrant photograph of the fungus Colus pusillus was taken by andrikkos (andrikkos_from_droushia@Flickr). Much thanks andrikkos! I was intrigued by the two other posted photographs from andrikkos as well: Colus pusillus 2 and Colus pusillus 3.

Belonging to Phallaceae, or the stinkhorn family, the fruiting bodies produce sticky masses of fetid smelling spores called gleba. The foul smell is intended to attract flies and other detritus-loving organisms that aid in dispersal when the sticky spores coat the insect’s bodies. This particular fungus bears the common name craypot stinkhorn, and the visible fruiting parts, like others in Phallaceae, originate from an egg-shaped structure that emerges from the forest floor. Additional detailed pictures of this fungus are on Michael Kuo’s Colus pusillus.

Colus pusillus bears its gleba on the pileus, the underside of the fragile receptaculum (the cage-like structure – on a common mushroom-type structure this would be the underside of the cap). Colus pusillus is thought to only occur in Australia but the few species described to this genus are widespread throughout the world. From Mycobank, here is the original description of Colus pusillus.

If you know more about this Australian fungus, please feel free to correct or comment!

Colus pusillus

11 responses to “Colus pusillus”

  1. wendy

    Truly another example of the richness of this amazing planet we are privileged to occupy.

  2. Justine Murdy

    Yes Wendy! I love this planet too!! Having the chance to appreciate these BPotD images and the natural wonders they depict, makes my heart sing!! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Don Fenton

    I used to be fascinated by these fungi when I was a child in coastal New South Wales: sandhill country. I don’t recall having noticed any smell from it, foul or otherwise.

  4. Rafael Vargas Vargas

    I think there are in my garden this kind of fungus. I have seen something very similar during the winter for years. The problem is my garden is in the mediterranean island of Ibiza, not Australia!

  5. Eric Simpson

    Looks like a decorative hair-net.

  6. Bill Barnes

    I would suppose I can use my name here as I cannot remember the sign in details , so for the record , I am
    Bill Barnes . I have seen a similar fungus in Florida and yes it too has a foul odor which attracts blow flies or carrion flies to aid in spore dispersal. Clever these flies and even more so clever this fungus and its relatives to exploit a innocent unasumming fly for dark purposes .The whole world of symbiosis is something that the plant world has a vested interest in prolonging . A field of study that is at best inadequately supported . Way too much for all of us to do or accomplish.

  7. elizabeth a airhart

    jcu edu au has a pictures and writeup
    and a very nice website click on flora and fauna
    thank you soon time for may flowers hopefully

  8. Doby Green: northeast Ohio

    I have not seen this plant in Ohio nor in Colorado. We do have skunk cabbage and have had dog’s tooth lilies and May flowers and anemones blooming for nearly a month now. It’s
    April 30 today. The diversity of plants and animals is a great wonder. We’ve had a LOT of rain and an immense winter of the old style, but that brings lots of flowers and ferns and animals. It helps to tell what sort of biome the organism is found living. I wonder if they are found in
    China. So many of the plants we have domesticated are from
    China, near Beijing. The mountains being very steep have
    many of the biomes found elsewhere and have been there for
    longest–the fossils of flowering plants are the oldest there.

  9. m

    what is amazing is I attend UBC-O and never heard of this site, good thing I found it on google.

  10. Ken

    There is another species Colus hirudinosus which is very similar and found in places other than Australia.

  11. Erin

    I’ve seen this fungus if not something almost exactly like it in Florida. It smelled like rotting meat, and didn’t have so much of the cage structure as just creepy tentacle-like fingers with the same orange-red color. The weirdest, nastiest-smelling thing I’ve ever seen.

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