Pilobolus crystallinus

Pilobolus crystallinus

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Credit: SINCLAIR STAMMERS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Pilobolus crystallinus var. crystallinus, commonly known as the "Dung Cannon" or "Hat Thrower", is a species of fungus belonging to the Mucorales order. It is unique in that it adheres its spores to vegetation, so as to be eaten by grazing animals. It then passes through the animals' digestive systems and grows in their feces. Although these fungi only grow to be 2 to 4cm tall, they can shoot their sporangium, containing their spores, up to 2m away.

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Keywords: digestive systems, dung cannon, fungus, hat thrower, mucorales, nematodes, sporangium, spores

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