Bookmark and Share

fungi Shotgun Fungi

Identify It >   Fungi Section >   Shotgun Fungi >

Shotgun Fungi

Scientific name:  Pilobolus sp.

Size:  Can grow to 4cm in height

Distribution:  Found throughout the U.K.

Months seen:  All year round

Habitat:  Grows on animal dung

Special features:  Shotgun Fungus, also known as the 'Dung Cannon' or 'Hat Thrower Fungus' gets its name from the way in which it distributes its spores.

The spores are contained in the black capsule at the tip of the fungi.  In the stem below that is a bubble of water under pressure.  In the middle of the day the pressure of that water bubble reaches bursting point and causes the tip of the fungi to explode and send the black spore capsule shooting up into the air.

When it lands it sticks to nearby grass, where it is eaten by a grazing animal.  It then passes safely through the animal's digestive system and get ejected out the other end inside a fresh pile of poop.  The life cycle then starts again.

Related Pages

free newsletter