Friday 4 December 2015

Bonnet Mould

Image: Mike Kempenich
Spinellus fusiger
It sounds like some terrible blight that might have struck Victorian Europe, destroying ladies headgear and leading to a devastating rise in the price of fashionable hats.

But it's not.

Image: Tatiana Bulyonkova
Bonnet Mould is a kind of traitor to fungus kind. It's a mould that infests its own cousins!

Now, I don't want to be presumptuous here, but some of you may have seen mould before. Lurking in the back of the fridge (at your friend's house). Lounging in the bottom of the fruit bowl (at your friend's house). Maybe you found some providing a characteristic, dull fluffiness to your more neglected novelty hats in the basement (that's the last time you lend a novelty hat to your friend).

Image: Harry Harms
Bonnet Mould doesn't like basements or fruit, nor even old sandwiches or rotten wood (your friend really needs to clean up more). They much prefer a nice mushroom to live in, particularly the delightful Bonnets of the genus Mycena.

A Bonnet with a full head of mould may be significantly less delightful than a bald one. I guess it depends on your taste.

Image: BiteYourBum.Com Photography
Bonnet Moulds grow as a spiky mass of pins known as sporangiophores, each topped with a tiny bulb known as a sporangium. This bulb is packed full of even tinier spores and as the sporangium, or "spore vessel", breaks down the spores are released into the wind, hoping to find a whole new Bonnet to live in.

You know, it gives me a great idea for a novelty hat...


Unknown said...

A fungus that parasitises fungus! I never knew such a thing existed, but somehow, I'm glad it does. All the eukaryotes can get fungus now. Yay?

Lear's Fool said...

Yup, even the little ones!

TexWisGirl said...

too cute!

Joseph JG said...

@Jacob Littlejohn: Yup. We're all united against the Fungus Kingdom, now!

@Lear's Fool: Wow, what a host of horrors!

@TexWisGirl: That too!

Lear's Fool said...

@Joseph: Always glad to provide material! :)