Phallogaster saccatus 

Phallogaster saccatus05133

Phallogaster saccatus Morgan 1893

The Club-shaped Stinkhorn or 'Pink Poke' is a gasteroid fungus. Gasteroid fungi are also called stomach fungi, because their spores are enclosed withing an outer skin or ’sack’, rather than externally on gills or in tubes, etc. This is because they have lost the genes for dispersing their spores. They succeeded in developing an alternative strategy for spore dispersal, one that depended upon insect visitors drawn toward odors of decaying flesh and excrement. 

Phallogaster saccatus is a small club-shaped pinkish to violet fungus with a hard lumpy pink outer wall which serves to protect its developing contents, a slimy dark olive-green spore mass called the gleba.  The fruitbody is anchored to the ground or rotting wood by white to pinkish rhizomorphs. As the entire fruit body matures, the outer wall weakens and develops several openings at depression points. Now the sticky matured spore mass becomes odiferous on exposure by emiting fetid odors highly attactive to carrion and copriphilous insects. Woodland visitors to Phallogaster saccatus will spread the spores in their feces and through contact via their appendages. It is a saprotrophic fungus, unlike many other fungi in the Hysteriangiales. Until the recent discovery of two new genera from Australia, it was the sole species in the Phallogastraceae family of the Hysterangiales order.

Davoodian, N., T. Lebel, M.A. Castellano, and K. Hosaka. (2021) Hysterangiales revisited: expanded phylogeny reveals new genera and two new suborders . Fungal Systemics and Evolution. 8 (12/21) 65-80.

Phallogaster saccatus05131

Phallogaster saccatus