February 5, 2016

Bird Nest Fungi

Bird Nest Fungi & Friend

Bird Nest Fungi Genera

Crucibulum, Cyathus, Nidula, Nidularia, and Sphaerobolus

  • Crucibulum and Cyathus species are similar in that their numerous eggs are attached to the inner wall of the fruiting body by a thin, coiled cord located inside a small pouch found on the underside of the egg. Rain drops manage to enter the nests and splash them out. Then the cord unfolds, and when completely distended, acts like a whip, enabling the eggs to wrap around any nearby grass, twigs, stalks, leaves, etc., holding the egg in place until the wall disintegrates and the spores are released.
  • Crucibulum species have thick, single-layered inner walls and Cyathus species have a thinner, 3 layer inner wall.
  • Crucibulum has black eggs that are surrounded by a whitish membrane which makes them appear white; Cyathus has black eggs; Nidula has brown eggs; and Nidularia has reddish-brown eggs.
  • Nidula and Nidularia species do not have a cord attaching the eggs to the nest, but the numerous eggs have a mucilaginous outer wall that sticks to any surface when there is contact.
  • Sphaerobolus produces a single, translucent, and whitish egg where the spores develop; becomes sticky as the egg fills with a gelatinous substance (no cord is present); once discharged (shoot out like a cannonball) the spore sacs tend to adhere to whatever surface they encounter.

Bird Nest Fungi Key