Friday, 12 February 2016

Flies on fungus

A number of species of fly are associated with fungi. The larvae of many species from several families live in the fruiting bodies. However some species of fungi use flies to spread their spores. This is the case with the stinkhorns. When the fruiting body bursts through its sac, it sends up a stem which is tipped with a foul-smelling "gleba". Flies that are attracted to carrion or dung are attracted to the gleba and then carry off the spores to spread the fungus. David Arden found a stinkhorn at Pitsford Reserve near the Walgrave bird hide and photographed it. The photograph shows how effective the gleba is at attracting flies. In the photo, the chestnut coloured flies with black spots on the wings are Members of the Dryomyzid family, Neuroctena analis. The flies with grey thoraxes and yellow abdomens are members of the Muscid family, probably Phaonia species.

(C) David Arden, 2015