Identification: 4 inch long hair like fungus

Discussion in 'Fungi, Lichens and Slime Molds' started by smileyhike, Jan 14, 2008.

  1. smileyhike

    smileyhike Member

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Greensboro, NC
    I have recently notices a patch of gray brown fungus under my bird feeder. I live in Greensboro NC, and I have been using Nyger thistle seed in this feeder. I have attached images of the fungus.

    I have searched extensively online and found no image matching what I have here. It looks like gargantuan hairy mold. The strands in the pic range up to 4" long.

    Any help would be useful.

    Thanks in advance,

    smileyhike (jnowlin@stilesmachinery.com)
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Frog

    Frog Well-Known Member Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,276
    Likes Received:
    44
    Location:
    B.C., Canada
    Phycomyces species are first colonizers of dung. In my area there are white hairs growing on dog doo, perhaps there is a black species that specializes in bird droppings?

    Juliet
     
  3. smileyhike

    smileyhike Member

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Greensboro, NC
    Frog,

    Thank you so much for identifying the Genus. . .

    I can now research it more. I appreciate your quick response. . .
     
  4. Frog

    Frog Well-Known Member Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,276
    Likes Received:
    44
    Location:
    B.C., Canada
    Well, I should have qualified that with "maybe" that is the genus: It looks like a Phycomyces, but you'd probably need an expert and/or a microscopic look at it to be certain.

    Juliet
     
  5. smileyhike

    smileyhike Member

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Greensboro, NC
    well here is the evidence in your favor
    1. this genus is said to have a metallic sheen, which mine does
    2. my example also has a characteristic yellow/orange cap on the young fruiting body
    3. this is known to grow on dung, and my example is under a birdfeeder
    4. it looks much like the examples i find online under Phycomyces

    this is all circumstantial alone, but begins to form a considerable credibility the more i consider it.

    thanks again. . .
     
  6. katie1

    katie1 Member

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Wales
    i've found exactly the same type of black, hairy fungus growing beneath my bird feeders as well. I don't like the look of it at all and I always hold my breath when clearing it away in case there are spores which could cause problems!

    No idea if it is something that could be harmful to birds, humans or other animals so I would appreciate it if someone could tell me more about it.

    Katie1
     
  7. Frog

    Frog Well-Known Member Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,276
    Likes Received:
    44
    Location:
    B.C., Canada
    There are dangerous fungi which grow on pigeon droppings and in carnivore droppings: I've been warned by several mycologists and a few textbooks to keep away from these fungal situations, particularly to avoid breathing anything in.

    But until we know for certain what this fungal beastie is, it would be hard to know for sure whether it represents a hazard.

    In general, it is good to avoid inhaling fungal spores, as they can be a mechanical irritant to the lungs.

    Fungi which like carnivore droppings are logically well suited to grow on/in another animal, so it make sense that inhaling particles/spores from this could be hazardous.

    -frog
     
  8. katie1

    katie1 Member

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Wales
    Thanks for your reply Frog. I do have collared doves feeding on my bird table but as a general rule I do not encourage carnivores to feed there!

    I will be very careful not to breathe in the spores from this hairy unknown ... I would prefer not to have some alien 'thing' eating away at my lungs.

    Again, thanks for bothering to reply

    Cathy
     
  9. Becky

    Becky Member

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Hamden, Connecticut USA
    I'm very interested to read the original posting in this thread because I've had the same fungus under my bird feeder, and I've been including a lot of Nyjer seed in the mix in my feeder as well although I have no idea if there's a connection. There was a huge pile of the fungus originally, which my spouse and I thought was animal fur until we got a closer look. Your photo is exactly what we saw -- very long, greenish black hairs with tiny yellow spots at the tops of each hair, and we're very curious to know what it is.

    I checked out Phycomyces on line, but I couldn't find many photos and the ones I did find seemed too short and the wrong color.

    Thanks for any additional information!
    Becky
     
  10. Frog

    Frog Well-Known Member Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,276
    Likes Received:
    44
    Location:
    B.C., Canada
    Hi Becky,

    Phycomyces is the genus, so there may be many species within this, with variable appearance.
    Some mycologists say this genus name is obsolete, but I've not been able to find a new name applied. An alternate genus name Ulva seems to be older, but might be worth a search.
    Species names I've found so far online are P. blakesleeanus, P. nitens, so either this is not a well studied group, or more detailed information on this group is in textbooks rather than online <grin>.

    cheers,
    frog
     
  11. Becky

    Becky Member

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Hamden, Connecticut USA
    Hey thanks for getting back to me with this information.
    I managed to find some really interesting photos of P. nitens that look very much like what I found under my bird feeder. So this looks like the likely candidate!
    http://www.bioimages.org.uk/HTML/R154341.HTM

    Thanks again,
    Becky
     
  12. kliot

    kliot Member

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Orinda, CA
    Did anyone ever figure out what this is? I have the same thing growing in my yard. It's also growing under where a bird feeder with Njyer seed was hanging.

    Thanks
     
  13. Becky

    Becky Member

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Hamden, Connecticut USA
  14. C.Wick

    C.Wick Active Member

    Messages:
    679
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Atchison
    I'm sincerely glad for this posting as I've not been very familiar with this family of fungus either.
    While hiking a couple days ago, I came across some scat with some of this family growing on it. I remembered reading this posting and thought, Oh wow! THAT'S the stuff! lol
    Although mine was a different color....you can see the spore heads already forming. The scat also was full of corn and other seed....I left the details of that stuff out though....hope you don't mind. :o)
    Thanx for the posting!
     

    Attached Files:

  15. A Idnurm

    A Idnurm Member

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    This looks very much like Phycomyces blakesleeanus. There are two species currently recognized for Phycomyces, ie. P. blakesleeanus and P. nitens. P. blakesleeanus is probably the main one in North America, and P. nitens in Europe, although this remains to be shown. It was once called Ulva nitens (1817), as mentioned in an earlier post, when the person reporting it mistook it for seaweed rather than a fungus. Despite this error, the genus was renamed Phycomyces to mean "phycos" seaweed and "mykes" fungus.

    The species does not grow at human body temperature so cannot cause disease, the spores are not spread in the air and are large, so this is unlikely to cause any human health issues. However, other fungi related to Phycomyces can cause human diseases.

    The fungus photographed by C. Wick is most likely some species other than Phycomyces, but I am not sure what it would be. There are a lot of different relatives that grow on dung. One website with a lot of information and photographs is http://www.zygomycetes.org/.

    I am collecting strains of Phycomyces from the US as part of understanding the diversity of this genus. If anyone sees any and would like to send it to me, you can cut off the tops of the hairs (this should include the small round ball that houses the spores), put it in a plastic bag and post it (5100 Rockhill Rd, SBS, University of Missouri, Kansas City, MO 64110). Some information on what it was growing on, and the location is also useful.
     
  16. parrishturf

    parrishturf Member

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Badin, NC
    I just found this fungus in my basement. A cold damp concrete floor. It was growing on cat dung. I thought it was a doll head at first...

    Is this something you would like me to send you?

    Address per your post?
     
  17. Malorie

    Malorie Member

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Freeport USA
    My cat throws up often, but this time when he threw up in the grass, Long black hair started growing out of it. It totaly grosses me out, but we have not gotten rid of it becaues we thought it could have been from the cat food. But I really would like to know what its all about.
     
  18. A Idnurm

    A Idnurm Member

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    While it may gross out most people, this is the sort of excitement that makes some people's day! As I recommended in a previous post, either cut off those long hairs, including the balls at the ends, and put them in a plastic bag (or the whole mess) and we will be overjoyed to look what is in there. It sounds a lot like Phycomyces, but until we culture it up, who can tell. It's not pathogenic, probably something the cat picked up in the cat food or outside.

    Address:
    A. Idnurm
    5100 Rockhill Road
    University of Missouri-Kansas City
    Kansas City MO 64110
     
  19. jepler

    jepler New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    San Jose
    Are people still looking for samples of this stuff? I discovered it on my cat's excrement in a flower bed and it was really, really long. Like 10 inches or more. I thought it was human or animal hair and it freaked me out a little bit. It was black/dark gray and I'd like to identify it ASAP. Please let me know. Thanks.
     
  20. Sennaya

    Sennaya New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    I have some beautiful black hair fungus with yellow topped pins growing form my bird feeder with Nyjer seed for gold finches. I would like to know more about it, too! Phycomyces Niten? Any health concerns?
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Nov 17, 2014
  21. Frog

    Frog Well-Known Member Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,276
    Likes Received:
    44
    Location:
    B.C., Canada
    Hi Sennaya,
    Thank you for posting the photo - Impressive fruiting!
    Please see the information in the other posts on Phycomyces and related fungi.
    cheers,
    frog
     

Share This Page