|Major Groups > Stinkhorns > Colus hirudinosus|
by Michael Kuo
Is this thing cool, or what? Don't bet the house on my identification, however; the photos were sent to me from Australia in e-mails, and I have made my best guess, using a 30-year-old source, without actually examining the mushrooms. Normally, pages at this Web site represent North American mushrooms I have collected and/or studied--but I'm always willing to make exceptions for stinkhorns (see Lysurus corallocephalus for an African example).
The fused arms that form a stem-like structure define the genus Colus, but species within the genus "are not clear cut," according to stinkhorn expert D. M. Dring (1980). Colus hirudinosus is quite similar to Colus pusillus, and whether there is one variable species or several species with minor morphological differences is not clear. As of 1980, Colus pusillus was known from Australia, while Colus hirudinosus was documented from Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean.
More photos of Colus pusillus, sent in by readers, can be found in the Stinkhorn Hall of Fame.
Ecology: Saprobic; growing alone or gregariously; in woods or in cultivated areas; year-round in tropical and subtropical areas; possibly limited to Australia (see above).
Fruiting Body: Initially a whitish "egg" up to 2 cm across, attached to white cords; rupturing, with the stinkhorn emerging as a cage-like structure, 5-8 cm high, of about 10 corrugated, scarlet arms that are roughly triangular in cross-section and that fuse into a stem-like and slightly paler base composed of vertical columns; the inner surfaces of the cage covered with foul-smelling, olive brown slime; the egg tissue creating a whitish volva.
Microscopic Features: Spores 4.5-6 x 1.5-2 µ; cylindrical; smooth.
Cite this page as:
Kuo, M. (2010, May). Colus pusillus. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/colus_pusillus.html