Identification: Unknown beast from the Amazon rainforest

Discussion in 'Fungi, Lichens and Slime Molds' started by SocialAmoeba, Nov 14, 2010.

  1. SocialAmoeba

    SocialAmoeba Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Uppsala, Sweden
    Hi all,

    I was recently on a botanical excursion in Ecuador and we spent a couple days in Amazonia at Yasuni National Park. I found this there, and am totally puzzled by it. Any ideas? It was growing at about eye-level on a tree (which I think may have been Cecropia sp., but I didn't really look too closely).

    Thanks!

    S.a.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Frog

    Frog Rising Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    2,068
    Likes Received:
    247
    Location:
    B.C., Canada
    Stumped so far ... very interesting!
    Was thinking maybe something in the Xylariales ... then wondering if it could be botanical rather than fungal... still looking for clues...
    - frog
     
  3. SocialAmoeba

    SocialAmoeba Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Uppsala, Sweden
    Great! Glad someone else is as confused as I am. I also thought that it might be botanical instead of fungal. However, I decided that was unlikely since the people I was with are working on the Flora of Ecuador and they know their tropical plants pretty well. One of them pointed to this mystery creature and said "Look! A fungus!" But when I asked him what kind of fungus he was stumped.

    I don't think it is a member of the Xylariales (as I know it anyhow..), but I don't have a better suggestion.

    I am really regretting not collecting this thing now!

    S.a.
     
  4. Barbara Lloyd

    Barbara Lloyd Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,025
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Anacortes, Washington, USA
    Where's Lorax when you need her? She works with hardwood trees in Ecuador. She is in this forum and maybe she'll have some ideas. barb
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2010
  5. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

    Messages:
    4,776
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    I'm here, I'm here, I've been having computer problems, gimme a break!

    That's definitely a fungus, and one of the weirder ones in the Amazon, IMHO. Let me delve on in to my local fungal reference (read: my friend Cisco) and I'll get back to you. It would help if you knew for certain whether the tree was Cecropia or what, since many of the fungi in the deep Amazon here are genus-specific.

    You lucky dog - I've been trying to get back to Yasuni for two years now (Aroid enthusiast), and I still haven't made it.
     
  6. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

    Messages:
    4,776
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    OK, Cisco referred me to the extraordinarily excellent site Fungi of Ecuador, which, by lovely coincidence, features a picture of your very fungus on its front page, by way of decoration.

    Check out Camillea leprieurii. It's an Ascomycete from (Frog, you were right) Xylariaceae.
     
  7. Frog

    Frog Rising Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    2,068
    Likes Received:
    247
    Location:
    B.C., Canada
    Thank you Lorax (and Cisco)!

    So many mushrooms look undersea: I'm expecting a tubeworms fluffy bits to come popping out of these.

    I'm wondering what purpose this tube-shaped mushroom is serving this fungus? So, OK if it is completely hollow then it would be doubling the surface area of a non-hollow Xylarialicious "antler", but if spores are fired out the usual way, wouldn't the ones inside the tube just hit the opposite wall and get nowhere? ... Or maybe this is designed for bugs to enter, to carry spores away with them? Any ideas?

    cheers
    -frog
     
  8. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

    Messages:
    4,776
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    Those tubes aren't hollow all the way down, Frog, just at the tips - this photo has closer detail of that. I suspect that spores in this case are only fired from the outer walls, and that the tube structure acts as an elevator, to improve dispersal. Sort of like the purpose of the stems on Agaric-type mushrooms - to elevate the cap and improve spore dispersal.

    The second structure (the long, twiggy looking things) in SA's photo doesn't seem to be part of the Camillea at all, but rather a Thamnomyces of some sort - I can't find any reference to Camillea producing elongated, nodular bodies; it's usually (in the other species) rather flat.
     
  9. SocialAmoeba

    SocialAmoeba Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Uppsala, Sweden
    I had passed around this photo to some colleagues and friends and the most common suggestion I got was "Are you sure this is just someone playing a practical joke?" Tube worms were also suggested a couple times....

    But now I can prove that I'm not just gullible! Thanks guys, Lorax it looks like you are spot on.. that's it! And nice work Frog as well, sorry I doubted your first suggestion. That Fungi of Ecuador site is really nice. I have already spotted a couple fungi I have unidentified photos of. I wish I would have known about this site before or during the excursion. Now I just need a Ecuadorian slime mold page and I'll be completely satisfied! :)

    I did a search and found a paper on this genus in Ecuador - Hastrup and Laessoe (2009). The genus is surprisingly large! It has quite a few representatives in Yasuni as well. No molecular phylogeny though...

    I think I will have to pop by the herbarium next week and see if they have any specimens of this critter, I would love to have a second (closer) look, perhaps with the microscope.

    And I agree Lorax - Yasuni is fantastic. No lack of Araceae there - we saw some amazing examples. Some day I'll get back there, too!
     
  10. C.Wick

    C.Wick Active Member

    Messages:
    679
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Atchison
    Heya Frog and Lorax...do either of you know if we have a similiar looking species here in the US? I swear I found some pure white ones on a fallen tree here a couple months ago.....need to dig up the photos. Ideas on this?
     
  11. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

    Messages:
    4,776
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    Photos, C. Wick, Photos! I had never seen anything quite like this one until I got down here, but that doesn't rule it out.
     
  12. C.Wick

    C.Wick Active Member

    Messages:
    679
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Atchison
    I'm soooo sorry they're such horrible images! Normally I try to take clearer work. The dates on these were 9/16/10. Found on a fallen tree...possibly a cottonwood? Not sure on that. We'd finally gotten a good rainfall after very dry weather 2 days previous to these photos. By the time I found them they were starting to turn to 'dust' but there were still some on another branch that were firm to the touch. I just couldn't GET to that branch without falling in the river. This is along the Missouri River in NE Kansas. The average length of them was 1 to 1 1/4 inch.
     

    Attached Files:

  13. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

    Messages:
    4,776
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    Well they certainly look similar. Have you found any record for Camillea in BC?
     
  14. C.Wick

    C.Wick Active Member

    Messages:
    679
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Atchison
    I can't even find INFORMATION on Camillea except that there are around 40 or so known world-wide? ugh NO other information......
     
  15. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

    Messages:
    4,776
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    Hmmmm. What's really throwing me is that all of the Camillea I'm familiar with are black, not white, and only the one species produces those tall elevator tubes - the rest are almost flat or just on the edge of bumpy, with pores. Checking through Home of the Xylariaceae (thanks again, Cisco) confirms that for me, but it also turns up Xylaria, with X. grammica being a pretty close match and one that at least has recorded collections in North America (all collections I could find for Camillea are from Ecuador and Colombia). I still can't find an in-situ picture for that one, but it's a start.

    Frog, getting back to your question about those stromata, here's a picture of one in section - they're clearly solid and designed to only fire spores from the outer walls, which would seem to support the elevator hypothesis....
    http://mycology.sinica.edu.tw/xylariaceae/Images/Camillea/g00504.jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2010

Share This Page