Biological function of hallucinogens in fungi ?

Paul Stewart stewart at
Sun Jan 28 10:38:58 EST 1996

This is purely speculation, but have there been any studies in how fungi 
have adapted to spread their spores through animal ingestion of basidiocarps?
Is there any possibility that the compounds in question cause: 
a) fast transit thru the digestive tract (diarrhea), ensuring the 
redistribution of spores in the general area that the species is already 
successfully established, along with a plentiful nitrogen source via the 
largely-undigested gut contents?
b) death or disability of the animal ingesting the mushroom, which in 
turn disadvantages the animal to allow predation and death? In the former 
the spores would release from the decomposing carcass, another nitrogen 
source, and establish the mycelia at that site. The latter would allow 
transport of the spores in the predator, another source of distribution.

Just some coffee- and drowsiness-induces Sunday morning musings, no 
hallucinogens involved!  ;-)

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