They may be taking over the world, but they have problems too: They have an itch they can’t scratch. Their dead wear fur coats. They nuke their competitors with poisonous blood. Multicolored Asian ladybugs are host to three different fungi. They’re all bizarre and interesting, but if you are a ladybug, you will have a clear favorite.
My students think of Russula species as cheerful mushrooms that are quite benign. They are often pleasingly colored, make good partners for trees, and have an interesting, brittle texture. Other than being practically impossible to identify, what’s not to like? But in eastern Asia, one Russula species kills half of the people who eat it.
Woolly mammoths have been extinct in North America for 13,000 years. What caused their extinction, and what did they eat for a snack? These two questions are related to each other only by… Fungi! Also, bonus! we explore the many words for poo.
Poetry and dirt inspired Angie Macias to explore buzzy, hummy cicadas. And the fungi that live to eat them. They are butt-devouring species of the fungus Massospora– coming to your backyard this summer!
Everyone knows mushrooms pop up after thunderstorms, right? Japanese mushroom farmers sometimes deploy electric shocks to get their shiitake mushrooms to fruit. So, what would happen if you wandered around in the forest zapping the ground?
Tasmanian platypuses are coming down with a fungal disease of late. It’s caused by a fungus previously only found sickening amphibians. A platypus is a strange and baffling creature, and so is this fungus, Mucor amphibiorum.
There’s nothing more fascinating than watching molds grow in time lapse. Or is there? This student post describes the inner life of Rhizopus, a remarkably busy and exuberant genus of molds. It is probably eating something in your kitchen as we speak! Today we admire the magnificence of Rhizopus eating your lunch, and introduce its surprising and extraordinary sidekick.
Sometimes I think fungi in the genus Aspergillus just have more get-up-and-go than other fungi. Some are good, and sure, some are evil — you just have to admire their audacity. Turns out one particular Aspergillus is a notorious enemy of birds, and can even take down a powerful raptor like a hawk or falcon in a matter of days. Read on for more about falconry and fungi in this post by Abby Duvall.
Old and well-loved cats get infections sometimes. Here is the story of Percy, a cat who has battled several different attackers in the last little while: two fungi, a mystery cat, a virus, and a bacterium. He even generously shared one of them with his human family. But don’t worry, they’re all OK now.