Weird Mushroom Lore

I’ve interviewed Taylor F. Lockwood, who photographs and studies mushrooms all over the world, for Amazon.com (the interview will go up next week), and had to share this little snippet in advance of the feature posting.

Jeff

What, in your opinion, is the world’s strangest mushroom, and why?
That is hard because there are so many strange ones. Two groups I really like are the Cordyceps and the Stinkhorns. The Cordyceps because they control the proliferation of insects as well as make them do strange things before they devour the insects from the inside out. Some Cordyceps are not only specific to the species of insect host that they will attack, they might be specific to the body part, leg or joint that they want to host upon. Other Cordyceps can make an insect climb up a tree to better spread the spores when the fungus fruits out of the insect’s body. Stinkhorns fool insects into spreading their spores by attracting them with brightly colored bodies and a smelly spore mass. The insects land on the sticky mass of spores and unwittingly carry them off to other habitats. One thing you can be sure of is that there will be many more surprises as we find out more about the Kingdom of Fungi.

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