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Wait, That Nest is a Fungus??

Updated: Jul 5, 2023

Can you believe that this "nest" is actually a mushroom?

This species is aptly named "Bird's Nest Fungus" and it's quite a fascinating mushroom. Each of those "eggs" (scientifically known as "peridioles") is actually a capsule full of spores. When it rains, droplets splash into the "nest" and disturb the peridioles, ideally splashing them into the air. The peridioles of many species of bird nest fungi have a string attached to the end of them. When a peridiole is flung airborne, the string trails behind it and then sticks or coils itself around anything nearby that it comes in contact with. In this way, the spores have a more auspicious chance of being dispersed.

This mushroom doesn't look terribly small, does it? Well, it's actually quite little - on average a "nest" is typically measured at approximately 5-7mm in diameter! When I first spotted this fungus several years ago, I was shocked. Based on photos I'd seen, I had assumed they were much larger!

"Jellied Bird's Nest Fungi"

(Nidula candida)

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