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Mutinus caninus

Posted by
Johan Dierckx (Wijnegem, Belgium) on 28 October 2010 in Plant & Nature and Portfolio.

Mutinus caninus (Kleine stinkzwam (BE) / Dog Stinkhorn (EN) / Gemeine Hundsrute (DE) / Satyre du chien (FR)) is a fungus in the Phallaceae family. "Mutinus" is the diminutive of "muto", a latin word for Penis and "caninus" means "dog-like" in Latin. Its common names in French and German also hint at its resemblance to a dog penis.

Like all members in the Phallaceae family, the fruiting body begins as an "egg" stage, from which the phallic-looking fruiting body emerges over the course of just a few hours. As it becomes mare and more erect the black slimy mass of spores on the cap begins to mature and begins to smell like rotting meat. This smell makes the Dutch common name "Stinkzwam" and the English common name "stinkhorn" very appropriate. This smell attracts flies, which think they're getting a great meal of some dead animal. Instead they get a portion of spore mass. More importantly for the fungus, some of the spores stick to the legs and mouth parts of the flies. Eventually the flies land on some real rotting material and the spores are transferred to a substrate they can grow on. The fly may visit more than one stinkhorn, and this helps to ensure cross-fertilization among the members of the species. You may see some very striking similarities with the pollination activities of insects on flowers here. The stinkhorns seem to be absolutely dependent on the flies for the dissemination and mating of their spores; unlike most basidiomycetes, there is no wind dispersal of spores.

This species can be found growing in small groups on wood debris, or in leaf litter, during summer and autumn in Europe and eastern North America. It is not generally considered edible, although there are reports of the immature 'eggs' being consumed.

Image: Schilde (BE) - 03/10/2010

Canon EOS 400D 1/10 second F/8.0 ISO 200 150 mm

© Johan Dierckx

The photos on this site are copyrighted, which prohibits anyone to use them to sell, give away, use in email or newsgroups, use in a homepage or otherwise showing to the public without my explicit, prior, written permission. Please feel free to use the "contact"-button below to contact me with any questions.

All species are photographed in their natural habitat, without cutting or capturing them, and with maximal respect and the least possible disturbance to the environment.

(To see species in the same taxonomic rank (Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus), please use the tags provided with the image. The last tag is the Iso-code for the country where the image was taken. Image-date in DD/MM/YYYY format.)

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Monique from Koh Samui, Thailand

Hij staat er lichtend bij in de verder donkere omgeving, knap gedaan in die lichtomstandigheden! Vind de Duitse naam wel veel toepasselijker :)

28 Oct 2010 5:20am

@Monique: Het licht was inderdaad bijzonder moeilijk: Erg grote contrasten die nauwelijks digitaal vast te leggen zijn. Het resultaat is bevredigend, maar ik had toch nog een andere foto in gedachten - die is er alleen niet helemaal uitgekomen - het kan nu eenmaal niet altijd raak zijn he ... De naamgeving in de verschillende talen is steeds treffend, maar benadrukken steeds een ander kenmerk van deze soort - leuk te merken hoe de verbeelding bij iedereen anders werkt ... :-)) Fijne dag voor je, Monique.

Christine from Duns, United Kingdom

It is well named, superb macro

28 Oct 2010 6:57am

@Christine: Thanks again for commenting on so many images, Christine. Wish you some lovely days !

Florence from Paris, France

It looks like a match somehow... what a strange shape. Mushrooms are really incredible living creatures.

28 Oct 2010 8:41am

@Florence: They indeed are, Florence. Every time I find some surprising shapes, colors or textures. This one has a hollow stipe, just build out of some fragile tissue... How is it possible this can stand up this way ? When you touch it, it just collapses and bends to the ground ... It is not surprising to me that mushrooms are part of so many fairy-tales. Have a nice day !

Marleen from Doesburg, Netherlands

Knap staaltje fotografie weer Johan!
Hoe jij toch altijd het licht weet te vangen ...petje af! (geduld I know;-)
Gaaf ook nog de reflectie in dit 'lucifer' kopje!
(de naamgeving is weer helemaal 'to the point'.;-)))))

28 Oct 2010 9:10am

@Marleen: Dank je, Marleen. Het licht was me deze keer toch te slim af. Het contrast tussen de oplichtende steel en de donkere achtergrond was gewoon te groot. Een digitaal toestel is blijkbaar toch niet in staat om ons oog te volgen in het compenseren van die contrasten. Ik denk dat de enige oplossing hier een HDR-techniek is, maar die heb ik totaal niet onder de knie :-) Dus ben ik voorlopig tevreden met deze opname. De naamgeving in de verschillende talen laat de fantasie bij iedereen de vrije keuze ... (en ik denk dat ik weet welke jij gekozen hebt :-DD ) Fijne dag voor je !

daniela scharnowski from Berlin, Germany

The top looks freshly painted ;D
Wonderful light here Johan!

28 Oct 2010 9:34am

@daniela scharnowski: It is a very fresh specimen here, probably just not older than 1 or 2 hours. When flies come, the black spores are very easily removed, disturbing the gloss on the top. This is an early morning shot ... (not my usual hour of making images :-) ) Thanks for your comment again, Daniela. Greetz !

Veronique from Sarrouilles, France

you did very well with the light ! very spectacular one

28 Oct 2010 9:46am

@Veronique: Thanks, Veronique. The stipe seems glowing here. I was lucky the sun was on the right spot in a dark beach-wood area.

Loner from Wörgl, Austria

Wunderschön, wie dieser Pilz leuchtet ! Deine Frage, ob wir regelmäßig Pilze essen - nein - weil sie nur meinem Mann schmecken.

28 Oct 2010 1:22pm

@Loner: Luckily not everyone has the same taste :-) (but I hope you serve some nice mushroom-dishes from time to time for him...). Greetz for both of you !

Michael from Chester, United Kingdom

I've never actually seen one, but this image is just amazing, it's as if it came from another world. Superb shot Johan

28 Oct 2010 9:19pm

@Michael: It is a rather short living species, Michael, so you have to be lucky to be on the right spot on the right time. Thank you very much for your visit and kind comment.

mayoline from Hoorn, Netherlands

Jeetje hoe kan je hier nou niet tevreden mee zijn? De reflectie van de bomen in de top van de kleine stinkerd is geweldig!! Een prachtplaat vind ik het!!

BTW leuk dat je langs kwam en de mij een beetje wijzer hebt gemaakt.

28 Oct 2010 9:35pm

@mayoline: Graag gedaan hoor. Ben de laatste tijd nu eenmaal nogal met paddenstoeltjes en hun determinatie bezig (maar dat merk je allicht aan de reeks foto's die hier reeds gepost zijn). Ik ben met deze foto op zich wel tevreden, maar ik had een ander beeld voor ogen toen ik de opnames maakte. De foto geeft niet de helft van de sfeer weer die er ter plaatse was - dus in dat opzicht is het teleurstellend. Bedankt voor je bezoekje en een fijne dag voor je.

Julie Brown from Indianapolis, United States

A very interesting structure and life history. How did you get it to glow like this?

29 Oct 2010 12:27am

@Julie Brown: I didn't - the sun did ! I just waited for the sun to light the white stipe. The image is made with almost backlight so the sun shines through the hollow stipe. I had to underexpose the image, otherwise the details in the stipe would have burned completely out - but as a result the background in the image is underexposed as well - think I should learn HDR-techniques for these type of shots :-).

AMH from Buenos Aires, Argentina

is the first time I see your photos are beautiful and would not know to choose. the shots are perfect. a big hug Alex

29 Oct 2010 3:33am

@AMH: Thank you very much for your visit and your enthousiast comment, Alex. Have a nice day !

Marilla from Turku, Finland

My first thought was not a penis but a matchstick! This fungus is very extraordinary and I'm sure I have never seen this before.

31 Oct 2010 10:25am

@Marilla: I have no idea on the fungi-species occuring in Finland but I'm sure there are some really beatiful species out there too. Nice I can show you this exctroardinary species then.

Dutçh from Chicagoland, United States

As I look at these fungi you collect I realize that I probably am not even seeing all that is out there when I walk. I really do need to look closer.. I will find these surprises too!

31 Oct 2010 11:46pm

@Dutçh: You defenitely should look for them :-) A new world will reveal ... :-)

Laurent from near Lyon, France

I like how you captured the light through it. Beautiful translucent Dog Stinkhorn

6 Nov 2010 4:25pm

@Laurent: It was the first time I did find this species and was very surprised with all the beatiful structures. Thanks for you comment, Laurent.

Tillymea from Stockholm, Sweden

As an asparagus dipped in chocolate, love your amazing brilliant pictures .))))))

11 Nov 2010 9:53am

Canon EOS 400D
1/10 second
ISO 200
150 mm