Rainforest Fungi
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Chin’s Nature Corner
CHIN'S NATURE CORNER ~ PHOTO GALLERY ~ RAINFOREST FUNGI

Rainforest Fungi

Psathyrella splendens (Coprinaceae). © Chin Fah Shin. THE fruiting bodies or basidiocarps are the parts of fungi that we often see. Some of them are colourful while others have unusual forms or shapes. I am interested in these fungi and toadstools (or “wild” mushrooms) only as photographic subjects because of their colour or shape. I doubt the species shown here are edible... so this selection of pictures is intended to be only a feast for your eyes.

Bracket Fungus

Bracket Fungus
Bracket fungi (Ganoderma) normally attack dead tree trunks but they can also be found growing on living trees which have been "wounded". They stick firmly to the wood substrate. Bracket fungi are generally not edible because they are hard and tough, but one species, Ganoderma lucidum, is cultivated to produce Ling Zhi, a food supplement valued for its medicinal and tonic properties.

Insect larvae feeding on fungus

Bracket Fungus
Some insects include fungi in their diet. I once saw a grasshopper eating a small mushroom. Several species of Fungus Beetle (Eumorphus) feed on the spores of bracket fungi. Many insect larvae gathered on the underside of this large bracket fungus, presumably to feed on its spores.

Coral Fungus

Coral Fungus
This coral fungus (Ramaria sp.) grows in very damp areas that are well-shaded by the forest canopy, for example near water courses in the lowlands. The specimen shown here is quite young, but older specimens are highly branched and resemble corals, hence the common name.

Jelly Fungus

Jelly Fungus
This jelly fungus was found growing on a log. The basidiocarps, standing one centimetre to 2cm high, are conical or club-shaped and have a bright yellow colour. The species is probably Guepinia spathularia (Ascomycotina).

Agaric Fungus

Agaric Fungus
This cluster of subtly coloured agaric fungus nearly escaped my notice. It was growing on sloping ground lightly covered with some leaves and was almost the same colour of the soil and dry leaves. I cleared the leaves for this picture (and replaced them later). This species probably belongs to the genus Termitomyces.

Gills of a fungus

Gills of Fungus
Many agaric fungi have "gills" on the underside of their fruiting bodies. Often, it's difficult to photograph the underside without removing them from the substrate. I photographed this specimen in situ; it was growing on a broken tree branch about one metre (several feet) above a forest trail.

Stinkhorn Fungus

Stinkhorn Fungus
Stinkhorn fungi emit an unpleasant odour, like that of rotting meat or carrion, which attracts flies looking for food. The fungal spores stick to the flies' legs and bodies, and thus the flies help to disperse the spores.In this picture, some blow flies (Chrysomyia sp.) have settled on a red stinkhorn fungus (family Phallaceae).

Cup Fungus

Cup Fungus
Two species of Cup Fungus, Cookeina sulcipes (shown here) and C. tricholoma, are found in Malaysia. C. sulcipes has "smooth" cups with colour ranging from peach to light orange, while C. tricholoma has hariy cups with colour ranging from a very pale shade of pink to light red.

Ink Cap Fungus

Ink Cap Fungus
This ink cap fungus (Coprinus) has fruiting bodies which appear like a mass of tiny umbrellas (with a diameter of less than 2cm). I found it growing on the broken tap root of an uprooted tree. The matured caps of this type of fungus dissolve into a "gooey" black mass containing the spores.

Parasol Fungus

Parasol Fungus
Shaped like tiny umbrellas of a half-centimetre across, these mushrooms are found in leaf litter. They have a leathery texture, and the long, thin stalks are also tough and wiry. The species shown here (Marasmius sp.) grows on dead leaves. Like other fungi in the tropical rainforest, Marasmius spp. are efficient decomposers, recycling nutrients in dead leaves.

A big toadstool

Big Toadstool
I found this toadstool growing in dry leaf litter in a forest near Kuala Lumpur (it was a dry period of the year around February). I posed my daughter behind the toadstool for this picture to give an indication of its size. It was roughly 20cm (8 inches) in diameter, with a stalk above the ground of about 10cm (4 inches).




 This page revised on 24 May 2005. Copyright © Chin Fah Shin.
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