Scientists discover new species of phallus-shaped mushrooms

June 16th, 2009 - 12:11 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, June 16 (ANI): Scientists have discovered a new species of phallus-shaped mushrooms on the African island of Sao Tome.

The new species of stinkhorn mushroom, dubbed ‘Phallus drewesii’, is two inches long, grows on wood, and is shaped like a phallus.

Phallus drewesii belongs to a group of mushrooms known as stinkhorns which give off a foul, rotting meat odor.

There are 28 other species of Phallus fungi worldwide, but this particular species is notable for its small size, white net-like stem, and brown spore-covered head.

It is also the only Phallus species to curve downward instead of upward.

“The mushroom emerges from an egg and elongates over four hours,” said Desjardin, who is also a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences. “Its odor attracts flies who consume the spores and disperse them throughout the forest,” he added.

The mushroom is named after Robert Drewes, Curator of Herpetology at the California Academy of Sciences.

Desjardin and colleague Perry named the new species after Drewes as an acknowledgment of his “inspiration and fortitude to initiate, coordinate and lead multiorganism biotic surveys on Sao Tome and Principe.”

“It’s a wonderful honor and great fun to have this phallus-shaped fungus named after me,” said Drewes.

Phallus drewesii was one of 225 fungus species that Desjardin and Perry collected during the 2006 and 2008 expeditions. (ANI)

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