Why so many different mushrooms?

treelike treelike at lineone.net
Wed Feb 6 04:10:15 EST 2002

Daniel B. Wheeler wrote in message
<6dafee1b.0201312030.48ce82c9 at posting.google.com>...
>gerchman at Princeton.EDU (Yoram Gerchman) wrote in message
news:<3C5830CE.4D93 at smtpserver2.Princeton.EDU>...
>> Dear group
>> As you all know mushrooms come in a big variety of shapes and colors.
>> I am trying to figure out is why? In flowers it is believed to evolved
>> the relationship flowers-pollinators, but what is the case for mushrooms?
>> Thanks, Yoram
>Excellent question. I have absolutely no answer. Anybody else want to
tackle this?

Maybe it's because fungi don't have to "impress" anyone because they can
live on organic waste material which abounds everywhere. You could say that
other plants and animals wouldn't get on very well *without* fungi to
decompose and clean up the waste they make. Forests would soon become choked
with fallen leaves and branches. Maybe the other plants have evolved around
the needs of the fungi!

Having said that, fungi like the stinkhorn have obviously evolved to attract
insect pollinators, although do not attract humans in the same way as
flowers (excepting of course over-enthusiastic mycologists!)

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