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The 7 Most Bizarre Mushroom and Fungi Species In The World

April 13, 2014

Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of certain fungi, and once mature they produce microscopic spores (like pollen) that may number in the billions. While many ‘shrooms are considered a delicacy, even ordinary mushrooms look incredibly weird with their umbrella-like tops and mushy undersides. We’ve rounded up 7 of the most bizarre mushroom and fungi species to date.

1. The Brain Mushroom (Gyromitra esculenta)

Source: Shroomery

Source: Shroomery

The Gyromitra esculenta fungus is a false morel that’s found in both Europe and North America. Unlike true morels, this species of fungus, commonly called the brain mushroom, was found to be poisonous and should not be eaten. The Gyromitra esculenta is characterized by its ruddy red-brown cap that resembles the human brain.

2. Bearded Tooth Mushroom (Hericium erinaceus)

Known as the bearded tooth mushroom or the lion’s mane mushroom, the Hericium erinaceus is an edible, medicinal mushroom that belongs to the tooth fungus group. This mushroom species is usually found sprouting from living, recently cut trees in North America, Asia or Europe. Hericium erinaceus mushrooms are thought to protect the nervous system and boost immune function. Don’t worry, this bizarre mushroom can be purchased in tablet form—you don’t have to consume those raw dangling spines to reap the health benefits!

3. Amanita muscaria

The Amanita muscaria mushroom looks like it was plucked straight from the latest Alice in Wonderland movie. This mushroom species is a toadstool, meaning that it’s usually considered a poisonous species. Thankfully, reported deaths from consuming the Amanita muscaria are rare.

Amanita Muscaria Poisonous Mushroom

Source: Wallpapers87

4. Morchella esculenta

Bizarre Mushroom Morel

Source: Wikimedia

The Morchella esculenta, commonly known as a morel, is one of the world’s most highly desired mushrooms, despite its unappealing appearance. Morels are characterized by a fruit body that expands into a large, yellowish sponge that contains deep pits. People have a hard time growing these tasty mushrooms commercially, which contributes to their high demand (and price) in many parts of the world.

5. Hydnellum pecki

While the Hydnellum pecki is undoubtedly a bizarre mushroom species, its appearance is also quite terrifying. This inedible fungus is found in various parts of the world and should not be eaten. While young fruit bodies “bleed” a pigment containing anticoagulant properties, older Hydellum pecki fungi are brownish and are thus less eye catching.

6. Indigo Milk Cap (Lactarius indigo)

Lactarius Indigo

Source: Wikimedia

The Lactarius indigo mushroom gets the name indigo milk because it exudes a blue milky liquid when cut with a knife. This bizarre mushroom grows in North and Central America and is usually characterized by its silvery-blue coloring. Lactarius indigo mushrooms aren’t particularly common, but they are one of the most beautiful (and bizarre) mushroom species in the world.

Bizarre Mushroom Blue Milk

Source: Plaidbird

7. Coprinus comatus

Known as the shaggy mane, the Coprinus comatus is an edible mushroom that’s quite common. Unlike most other mushroom species, this bizarre mushroom will dissolve itself within hours of depositing spores or being picked. Therefore, this mushroom must be consumed shortly after picking, before it turns black.

Coprinus Comatus Bizarre Mushroom

Source: Reddit

Via All That Is Interesting: The 7 Most Bizarre Mushroom and Fungi Species In The World

10 Pictures of Three-Week-Old Baby Meerkats That Will Make You Say Aww

April 10, 2014

Meerkats are pretty darn cute. With their tall, slender bodies and expressive faces, these critters are often caught perched on their two hind feet, scanning the savanna for predators. That being said, baby meerkats are even cuter. Photographer Will Burrard-Lucas recently traveled to the Makgadikgadi Pans region of Botswana to snap pictures of the beloved creatures. While there, Burrard-Lucas had the pleasure of capturing various images of a meerkat community that included some three-week-old baby meerkats. The resulting photos are playful, adorable and sure to brighten your day.

As you can see in this short clip, the baby meerkats enjoyed the photoshoot almost as much as Burrard-Lucas did:

Meerkats are friendly, family-oriented animals. They often live in communities and work together to stay safe and find food. Baby meerkats are raised by more than just their mothers—usually fathers and siblings pitch in to care for the young. These squirrel-like animals communicate with purring sounds, a language that helps them coordinate while hunting or standing guard.

In 2005, Animal Planet debuted Meerkat Manor, a reality show-inspired series that documented the lives of meerkats as they lived through circumstances that any human family might have faced, such as losing a loved one, moving to a new home or welcoming the birth of a child. Of course, the meerkats looked a whole lot cuter than any reality show star we’ve ever seen.

Baby Meerkats Photographed

Source: BuzzFeed

Via All That Is Interesting: 10 Pictures of Three-Week-Old Baby Meerkats That Will Make You Say Aww

Think Sea Sponges And Coral Are Boring? Think Again.

April 6, 2014

Often thought of as merely colorful backdrops to complement more “exciting” marine life like sharks and stingrays, this high-magnification video portrays coral and sea sponges in a vibrant new light. Be sure to check out more of this videographer’s work at Micro Worlds Photography.

Via All That Is Interesting: Think Sea Sponges And Coral Are Boring? Think Again.