The appearance on the ridge above our house of a group of Australia’s largest terrestrial mushrooms, the Giant Boletes (Phlebopus marginatus) was reported last month. What was also predicted was their imminent demise due to the patronage of the Fungus Fly (Tapeigaster sp). The fly lays eggs on the mushroom and the hatched larvae (seen in the picture on the left if you really look carefully) tunnel through the mushroom body, quickly decomposing it.
In the space of about 15 days the mushroom collapses from the robust fruiting body to a slick of ooze on the grass (pictured below) — that is, if the possums, wallabies, wombats or kangaroos don’t get to it first. It’s tough being a mushroom.
If the saying play hard, die young has any credence in the mushroom world, these boletes must play really hard. Their demise is certainly swift.