Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cool video of fungi and Fungi

Here's a video of an Amanita muscaria sporocarp (mushroom) developing. It's missing my favorite part, when the universal veil breaks up and forms the white spots on the cap. This is what makes it look strawberry-like, at least in the red morphs. But it's understandable because the videographer probably wouldn't have recognized the mass as a Amanita muscaria mushroom until after the veil had started to break up.

Sorry I can't embed this, the embedding has been disabled. But it's a very cool video featuring time-lapse photography of some fungi growing. The music reminds me of the music from the Mushroom Men: Spore Wars, probably no coincidence.

It seems like a good time to mention the difference between fungi and Fungi. The first critter in the second video is a slime mold, which is a fungus, or more correctly, a fungus like organism. Stinkhorns, oysters, and the other mushrooms are all Fungi. What is the difference? Fungi with a capital "F" are of the Kingdom Fungi (Eumycota), which all share common ancestry. This includes chytrids, zygomycetes, glomeromycetes, ascomycetes, and basidiomycetes, and most of the Fungi formerly known as deuteromycetes.

With a small f, most fungi were considered to be closely related to the Fungi at one time or another, but all are now recognized as being more closely related to algae, or protozoa (a rather nebulous term). These include the oomycetes, like Phytophthora (species of which caused the Irish potato famine and sudden oak death), or myxomycetes, like the slime mold shown in the video.

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