|Clathrus ruber -Mike Hall|
|Devil's Stinkhorn-Phallus rubicundus-MB|
Stinkhorns first emerge from the soil from a round structure referred to as an egg. A few species are star or lattice shaped but all I have seen in Missouri are on a single stalk.
|This Lysurus periphragmoides emerged from.....|
|.... this "egg" - Mark Bower|
|Mutinus elegans or caninus - MB|
|“Stinky Squid” (Pseudocolus fuciformis)-MB|
Unlike most fungi whose spores drop from gills or pores, stinkhorns' spores are in the gelatenous gleba at the tip. The foul odor attracts flies, beetles and other insects which pick up the spores on their feet and haul them off to other fertile sites.
Our Clathrus ruber has a colorful history described in Wikipedia. This includes finding it growing on "a human skull in a tomb in a deserted church" and several poisonings when eaten in spite of the odor. Apparently there are places in Asia and Europe where stinkhorns are considered delicacies when they are picked in the egg state and sold pickled as deviled eggs. As my mother used to say, "Each to his own taste the woman said as she kissed her cow."
Now back to the spider test up at the top of the page. Find the little yellow arrow below and then see the spider closeup.
|And here it is.|