VAUGHAN FLEMING / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY VAUGHAN FLEMING / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Stinkhorn mushrooms (Phallus impudicus) growing in woodland soil. These are the fruiting bodies of this fungus, which feeds on decaying vegetable matter such as rotting wood. Stinkhorns develop from an egg-like object (one sectioned at lower right), which is connected to the rest of the fungus by the white strands. As the hollow stalk (white) grows, it ruptures the gelatinous outer layer (brown) and raises a bell-shaped head up to 25 centimetres above the ground. The head is covered in a foul-smelling slime which gives this mushroom its name. Flies are attracted to the slime and they disperse the spores it contains. Photographed in Hargham Wood, Great Britain.
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