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'DEVIL'S FINGERS' Rare mushroom that smells like rotting flesh discovered in UK for f


[Release date]2019-11-19[source]The Sun
[Core hints]A RARE mushroom with the aroma of rotting flesh has been spotted in the UK for the first time in twenty years.The fungus

  

A RARE mushroom with the aroma of rotting flesh has been spotted in the UK for the first time in twenty years.

The fungus - known as Devil’s Fingers or Octopus Stinkhorn - was last spotted in the wild in 1999.

The freaky mushroom was spotted by an Avon Wildlife Trust conservation team at Dolebury Warren nature reserve on the Mendip Hills near Bristol on Halloween.

Officially known as Clathrus Archeri, the Octopus Stinkhorn - erupts from what looks like an egg and forms between four and seven elongated slender arms.

They then unfold to reveal a pinkish-red interior covered with a dark-olive slime that gives off the foul smell.

It grows on soil, and lives off dead or decaying matter - like wood chips, near old tree stumps, or in leaf litter.

Despite their gruesome appearance, these brightly coloured rascals are harmless and are not toxic.

Scientists at Kew said that their cousins, the stinkhorns, are considered a delicacy in some countries, but the same can't be said for species of the genus Clathrus (the Devil's fingers) as so little is known about them.

SMELL OF DEATH
The mushroom is a clever one though, it's putrid-smelling slime attracts flies who help to spread their spores.

Mycologist Andrew N. Miller, Ph.D told Inverse: "Flies come to the top of the stinkhorn and they eat that mucus.

They’re basically not only eating spores — they’re getting spores all over their wings and feet, then the fly flies off and disperses the spores for the fungus.”

The species is from the southern hemisphere and was first discovered in Britain in 1914.

Charlotte Targett, Living Landscape Assistant at Avon Wildlife Trust, who first spotted the fungus, said: "I didn't know what it was when I first saw it.

“It looked like some sort of strange sea creature.”

She added that the team was "really astonished” after discovering it.

Conservation colleague Joe McSorley, whom she was with at the time was then able to identify it.

He said: "We were surprised to find devil's fingers fungi as it's a rare find in the UK, with only two known records from our region, both from 1999.

"Careful conservation management over the years means that Dolebury Warren is particularly rich in fungal species."

 
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