Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The mouse's whiskers
Most fungi release spores into the air. These fly about and, if they settle in the right place, grow into new fungi. One fungus is much more cunning about spreading its spores. It grows on mouse dropping, and produces spores with long, upright threads attached. These stand up in the air and catch on the whiskers of passing mice, where they stick fast and are carried off. Later the mouse washes its face and swallows the spores, which travel right through its stomach and intestines. When the mouse next leaves dropping, the spores are there, ready to start growing.

Fungal giants
One of the largest toadstools ever found was an example for an edible kind called Polyporus frondosus. It weighed 33 kg (72 lb). Fungi on living trees can grow even larger. One in the United States measured 142 cm (56 in) across and weighed at least 140 kg (300 lb).

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