Weird and Wonderful Fungi

Examples of different fungi, big and small.

Fungi can come in a multitude of shapes, colors and sizes.

Fungi’s cells each have a nucleus, like plant and animal cells. However, unlike plant cells, they cannot make their own source of energy. Plants do this by taking in sunshine and using it to power a cascading series of events that turns water and carbon dioxide into food. Fungi are closer to animals in this respect because they eat dead stuff, although their cells have walls like plants.

You’ve (likely) seen many types of mushrooms in your life, they spawn up from the ground during the rainy months and are a great addition to any burger with swiss cheese. But there’s so many types of fungus that we don’t see often that have more of an impact on our lives, such as¬†Armillaria ostoyae.

Armillaria ostoyae is considered to be the largest living animal on the planet. Crazy right? Well, these small mushrooms grow on the forest floors across the globe and are connected by a complex root system. This system is one living thing with identical genetic information, making each of these mushrooms for thousands of square miles the biggest animal all together.

Mold and yeast are examples of microscopic fungi you might have seen.. or likely eaten.

Common mold that grows on human food like dairy, bread and vegetables.

Mold grows like filaments that are hair like and intertwine to make up the fungi’s body. Mold reproduces asexually and sexually by using spores. Spores are cells that can create a new individual alone unlike animal gametes.

Yeast also exists as unicellular organisms that have oval or round shaped bodies. These bread rising critters reproduce asexually by budding daughter cells off of a primary mother cell. Although most yeasts reproduce this way, there are some that can produce sexually.

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