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Bird’s Nest Fungus Fruiting Bodies Maturing

7-25-18 bird's nest fungus IMG_2701The observant eye may have spied what look like miniature bird nests filled with tiny eggs growing in gardens and wood chips this time of year.  They are a type of fungus that forms fruiting bodies that employ a “splash-cup dispersal” mechanism in order to disperse its spores.

The nests (peridia) serve as splash cups; when raindrops strike the nest, the eggs (peridioles) are projected into the air.  In some species, each peridiole is attached to the inner surface of the cup by a slender, hollow stalk which contains an inner, coiled, threadlike “funicular cord.” The fragile outer layer of the stalk is easily ruptured, thus releasing the inner, coiled cord. When wet, the cord elongates greatly and may reach a length of 6-8 inches. The base (hapteron) of this elongated cord is very sticky and adheres readily to solid objects after it is released from the cup. Like a wad of glue, the sticky cord base strikes a solid object, such as a nearby plant, adheres to a branch, and as the peridiole continues in flight the cord expands to its full length. Then the peridiole winds around the branch where the hapteron has become attached and is suspended in the air. Upon drying, the peridiole splits open, releasing its spores.

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6 responses

  1. Alice Pratt

    More amazing info…our very specialized natural world.

    July 30, 2018 at 8:51 am

  2. Amazing reproductive technique!

    July 30, 2018 at 8:55 am

  3. Darlene Zelazo

    Those tricky fungi!! And I think this blog may be especially for you – “Naturally Curious” 😉 I always learn things from her!

    July 30, 2018 at 9:09 am

  4. Jo

    So interesting that I went to Youtube for some videos on this fungus.

    July 30, 2018 at 10:39 am

  5. Bethany

    Thus dispersal method is extraordinarily effective as I have about a million of these in my beds. BethanyLove hearing their story!

    July 30, 2018 at 10:25 pm

  6. Thank you for this lovely posting and the photograph! I cannot remember if I told you about but loved it and often thought of you. I trust all is going well and send hugs.



    August 1, 2018 at 3:44 pm

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