Exploding Fungus. No really, and I’m not talking about anything from the Wizarding World.
Fungi come in dizzying arrays of brightly colored mushrooms, massive networks of tiny underground threads, and that fuzzy stuff that grows in your refrigerator. Some of my favorite varieties, however, are the ones that explode.
Pilobolus is a fungus that grows on grass where it is eaten by herbivores. The fungus then travels through the animal’s digestive track and is eventually deposited in a pile of stinky nutrients commonly known as poo. Out of the cow pie or horse turd grows the stalk of the fungus with its dark sporangium sitting atop a bulge called the vesicle. Pressure in the vesicle builds, and builds … and builds … until POP! and the sporangium goes flying! The packet of spores and nutrients moves so fast that it is actually one of the fastest moving living things on the planet. After landing on a fresh, less poo-covered patch of grass, the spores will hopefully be eaten by another large herbivore, and the life-cycle begins again.
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