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Octopus Stinkhorn
Anthurus archeri

octopus stinkhorn, Anthurus archeri As I was mowing my lawn I noticed this bright red thing.   It was clear that it was a fungus, but not like any I remember having seen before.  It took a while to determine that it is an octopus stinkhorn.

octopus stinkhorn, Anthurus archeriThis view shows how the "tentacles" spread, while the tips of some stick together.  The sticky purple globs contain the spores of the fungus.

octopus stinkhorn, Anthurus archeriLooking down on the octopus stinkhorn shows the opening into the hollow stipe (stem).  The odor from which the stinkhorn gets its name attracts flies, which then disperse the sticky spores.  Within a few hours the fungus had begun to shrivel and was not nearly so pretty.

octopus stinkhorn, Anthurus archeri At the base of the stipe you can see the remains of the "egg" from which the stinkhorn "hatched".  I noticed that stipes on the stinkhorns in my lawn are longer than those shown in the photos of the species which I have found.  Perhaps because the grass is so thick.

[Classification, Taxonomy]

[Fungi ] [Back Yard Biology ] [Science Can Be Fun ]