Impurest's Guide to Animals #114 - Stinky Squid

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Edited By ImpurestCheese

Well that’s one quarter down and another three to go as we rush head long towards summer (or winter depending where you are). Last week we met the cryptic ball of fat known as the Oilbird not to mention the Brown Hare, the focus of our Easter special. This week we go from oily to stinky. Hope you guys enjoy.

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Issue #114 – Stinky Squid

[1]
[1]

Wait a second something stinks here…yep April Fools Guys, so let’s start this again

Impurest’s Guide to Animals Fungi #114– Stinky Squid

[2]
[2]

Kingdom – Fungi

Division – Basidomycota

Class – Agaricomycetes

Order – Phallales

Family – Phallacaeae

Genus – Pseudocolus

Species – fusiformis

Related Species – The Stinky Squid is one of the 77 species in the Family Phallaceae known colloquially as Stinkhorns. (1)

Range – The Stinky Squid can be found in gardens and woodland throughout South East Asia, as well as Australia and the Continental United States

This Stinks!

The Stinky Squid is a medium sized fungus whose visible fruiting body grows up to 6cm in height and consists of three to four dark orange tentacle like structures. Each one of these ‘tentacles’ are four chamber, one large one on the outside of each arm, and three smaller ones running along the structures length. The underground structure of the Stinky Squid known as the hyphae often spread far, and multiple fruiting bodies can be part of the same subterranean network.

Like the rest of the stinkhorn fungi, the Stinky Squid is a detritivore and survives on rotting wood buried in the soil. As such Stinky Squid can often be found in areas that have been mulched, as well as growing in areas where there is an abundant source of deadwood. Despite the slightly alarming appearance the Stinky Squid does not attack living plants although the fruiting body, while not poisonous, is foul tasting and is not recommended for human consumption (2).

[3]
[3]

When ready to breed the Stinky Squid produces a green liquid spore mix known as gleba from the chambers inside of the fruiting bodies arms. The gleba is foul smelling, resembling the odor of rotting manure to attract flies, which act as the fungus’s spore dispersers. Once attracted the flies carry minute amounts of spores, which are about 2.5 micrometres in diameter (3), on their body until they eventually drop off onto an un-colonised section of soil where they begin to grow, producing an egg like immature fruiting body before eventually creating the tentacle fruiting body of the adult fungus.

Nature’s Most Wanted #5 – Dutch Elm Disease

Spores of the Dutch Elm Disease [4]
Spores of the Dutch Elm Disease [4]

Long time readers of Impurest’s Guide to Animals will be familiar with the destructive impact of fungi, be it on bats, frogs, crayfish or the many other species afflicted with deadly fungal pathogens. As such it seemed fitting to cover one of the deadliest of these pathogens Dutch Elm Disease (Ophiostoma ulmi) which effects trees from the genus Ulmus. While its native range is unknown, the fungus was first discovered and identified in the Netherlands in 1932 (4). While destructive, the fungus never spread too far in this initial outbreak, only to re-emerge as a more virulent strain in the 1960s, one that had driven its host species to the point of endangerment in Europe

Symptoms associated with Dutch Elm Disease include the premature yellowing of the tree’s leaves, as well as the excessive wilting of the foliage that make up the tree’s canopy. The disease is spread from host to host by a number of bark beetle species (Scolytussp) which drill into the tree’s bark effectively carrying the fungus past the tree’s protective bark. From there the fungus spreads by using the xylem and phloem that transport water through the tree, and has generally infected the whole plant by the time external symptoms begin to show.

One of the Bark Beetles that acts as a vector for Dutch Elm Disease [5]
One of the Bark Beetles that acts as a vector for Dutch Elm Disease [5]

While destructive, Dutch Elm Disease can be countered by tackling both the fungus and its insect vectors. High value trees can be sprayed with systematic fungicides to kill the disease when it infects trees, although insecticides should be avoided since there is a proven link between historic use of insecticides, such as DDT, to kill bark beetles and the decline in bird biodiversity and populations. Dutch Elm Disease can also be countered with the use of the fungal pathogen Verticillium albo-atrum which is a milder disease and effectively triggers an enhanced reaction from the tree’s immune response capable of identifying Dutch Elm Disease and destroying it before it infects the entire tree for a single growing season.

Bibliography

1 -www.arkive.org

2 - McKnight VB, McKnight KH. (1987). A Field Guide to Mushrooms, North America. Boston, Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin. p. 346

3 – Bessette A. (1995). Mushrooms of North America in Color: a Field Guide Companion to Seldom-illustrated Fungi. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press. pp. 140–1.

4 – http://www.issg.org/database/species/ecology.asp?si=130&fr=1&sts=&lang=EN

Picture References

1 - https://i.ytimg.com/vi/-uXbPRVVuNc/maxresdefault.jpg

2 - https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/98/a2/2f/98a22ff87ccf2bac9b46d1692bfb9172.jpg

3 - http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2420/5720216323_9a99a7d12f.jpg

4 - http://www.cornwallhistoricalsociety.org/images/forestexhibit/spore.jpg

5 - http://organically.server276.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/3.png

Well talk about a ‘fungus among us’! Thankfully we return to a somewhat normal schedule next week as we look at a ghoulish request from @cbishop. But until then make sure to critic, comment and suggest future issues as well as making sure you check past issues in Impurest’s Bestiary.

Many Thanks

Impurest Cheese

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Galactic_1000

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#2  Edited By Galactic_1000

Disgusting fish

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#3  Edited By ImpurestCheese
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#4 juiceboks  Moderator

Thought this was my man's time to shine..

No Caption Provided

..ah well. Good read as usual.

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@impurestcheese: Sorry friend.I thought it was fish as it look like fish to my eyes.

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As it's name seems to suggest, it's pretty flipping gross, but fascinating nonetheless.

Nice write up.

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laflux

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Whelp, I sure got fooled.

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#9  Edited By laflux

@impurestcheese said:

@juiceboks: I did do a couple of issues on squid, I can link them to you if you like

@galactic_1000: Hmm okay

@dadivineking: Yeah most fungi are quite disgusting in some way, as are most squid TBH.

@laflux:Good to know

fungi have never been my strong point though. It literally stops at they share a more recent common ancestor with Animals than plants.

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@laflux: Yeah they are closer to animals than plants, something that is equal parts freaky and baffling

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deactivated-5c901e667a76c

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I was just about to say something about Splatoon.

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@xwraith: Splatoon? More like Splatoon meets Mushroom Madness

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deactivated-5c901e667a76c

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Avatar_of_Green

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I really want to taste one for some weird reason

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Almost seems like a self propagating system. Fungi that live on dead trees and carry a disease that makes trees die. I'm sure there's no biological link, but it does seem convenient. Good read.

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@heroup2112: Dutch Elm Disease should be considered as something akin to Plague or Smallpox, it uses what it needs from the host, effectively damaging or even killing it, so that it can spread on to the next host, it'll only die when the host is rendered immune through forced immunity or through early treatment.

I mean bubonic plague is still out there, it's just convineant for everyone to think that its extinct what with all the newer biological threats emerging (AIDS 1970s, Ebola 1990s, SARS 2000s, Zika (2010s)

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@impurestcheese: Very good point. Actually I didn't realize Dutch Elm Disease had been taken care of to the point to where it's considered as rare as the plague. Unless I'm misunderstanding you.

Actually, I know the plague still exists, a colony of prarie dogs lives near my brother, and people are told not to interact or go near them because they carry it. Oddly, I have a (domesticated naturally) prarrie dog, who's the best pet I ever had (oddly enough) and probably TMI :)

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#19  Edited By ImpurestCheese

@heroup2112: No it's not taken care of at all, it's just that the mortality rate has been dropped from the high eighties down to 7%. Problem is this happened the last time and it came back fiercer and more virulent than before. Also at current it only seems to infect trees that are 20+ years old, even though it may have been laying dormant in their cell structure for years. It really does seem to be playing a long game ATM

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#20  Edited By HeroUp2112

@impurestcheese: Ugh. That rather sucks. I hope they can find a way to keep it a 7% or below and keep it from having a resurgence again.

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#22 juiceboks  Moderator
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wildvine

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I went all day without being fooled. Curses.

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ImpurestCheese

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@juiceboks: Cool I'll bump them for you and place the links here

Humboldt Squid - http://comicvine.gamespot.com/profile/blog/impurest-s-guide-to-animals-39-humboldt-squid/101009/

Bobtailed Squid - http://comicvine.gamespot.com/profile/impurestcheese/blog/impurests-guide-to-animals-90-hummingbird-bobtaile/113143/#js-message-15574470

Blanket Octopus - http://comicvine.gamespot.com/profile/impurestcheese/blog/impurest-s-guide-to-animals-6-blanket-octopus/97189/

@wildvine: Oh sorry?

@ficopedia: I did it last year as well with a sneaky wood nymph/king cobra misdirect too.

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laflux

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#26  Edited By laflux

@laflux: Yeah they are closer to animals than plants, something that is equal parts freaky and baffling

Well I guess once you look closely, its not too weird. And I was selling them short as well. Nematode trapping Fungi, and ones that infect and actually reprogramme the brain.

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#27  Edited By ImpurestCheese

@laflux: Yeah with those ants, they almost edged out DED for the interesting after segment portion of the issue

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TSciallsolle3451

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Christ.

Think some weeks ago I was complaining about how misleading animal names can be. This just topped it.

I truly thought you were talking about some animals until I saw that picture.

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Ostyo

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Yeah, because sea life is known for its pleasant smell.

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Claymore1998

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As always very nicely written and extremely informative

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#32  Edited By linsanel_Doctor

It looks like a sad squid.

Edit*.. you got me...

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ImpurestCheese

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@ostyo: Well this mushroom doesn't live in the sea so...

@claymore1998: Cool thanks for the comment

@linsanel_doctor: It does indeed look a little sad

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deactivated-097092725

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Cute trick.

Something about the texture of fungi always gets me.