A fungus fungus?

When I was a child I watched every low-budget sci-fi movie that was broadcast. I seem to remember Saturday afternoons being the regular timeslot for these movies, but I could be wrong about that. Rockets, invading alien creatures, strange discoveries in the sea or some deep cave, giant monsters attacking Tokyo and each other -- I loved them all. I'm sure I've forgotten dozens of horrible plots, but there are a few that have stuck with me. One in particular comes back to me every so often while working in the garden. It involved something about a shipwreck, an island full of giant mushroom people, and how eating the only source of food on the island -- mushrooms -- would turn you into one of these mushroom zombies.

I think that movie may have affected me more than I know, and may explain part of my fascination with mushrooms and other fungus. I sure love taking photos of mushrooms, and the days after a good soaking rain are the best times to find new ones. Yesterday morning I found something a little more surprising: what appears to be a fungus growing on some old mushrooms.


This is the fuzziest stuff I've seen lately, and it's not something I've seen before. At first I thought it was animal fur, but there really aren't too many yellow animals around here.

Plus with a closer look you can see that the "hair" is actually attached to the decaying mushrooms.

Is it possible that this is the final stage of the life of this particular species of mushroom? Is it another type of fungus feeding on the remnants of the 'shrooms?

I don't know. I didn't want to poke around it too much, as I didn't want to release more spores. My allergies are going kind of crazy already, and I don't need a face full of spores adding to that problem.

Did you know that human hair and mushrooms might be used to clean up oil spills? I just learned that trying to Google around to find something out about what I'm seeing here. I'm not having much success.

Here's a closer look at the "fuzz":

It's hard to say, but it looks to me like each "hair" branches out into several parts, forming what is almost an "umbrella". I should have thought about bringing some in to look at it under the microscope. That's part of the problem with taking these early morning photos though -- not really thinking too fast yet.

Definitely an interesting discovery, and I hope to find out more about what it is soon.

As with most fungus (including mushrooms), they don't look "fresh" for very long. This "hair" was pretty much gone today. That's why I usually walk around the yard with a camera in my pocket (if not my hand): you never know what interesting yet short-lived things you'll see.

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Barbie  – (September 18, 2011 at 12:40 PM)  

I would love to see that under my microscope!!

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