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Dung Cannon

Dung Cannon
Photo Information
Copyright: Jan Gaisler (honza) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 533 W: 0 N: 720] (4197)
Genre: Fungi
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-08-15
Categories: Fungi
Camera: Canon PowerShot S2 IS
Exposure: f/8, 1/30 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2007-08-16 3:02
Viewed: 7237
Favorites: 2 [view]
Points: 26
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Dung Cannon (Pilobolus crystalinus var. crystalinus)

Growing on cow excrements. Size 0.5-1 mm.
The asexual fruiting structure (the sporangiophore) of Pilobolus species is unique. It consists of a transparent stalk which rises above the excrement to end in a balloon-like subsporangial vesicle. On top of this, a single, black sporangium develops. The sporangiophore has the remarkable ability of orienting itself to point directly towards a light source. The subsporangial vesicle acts as a lens, focusing light via carotenoid pigments deposited near the base of the vesicle. The developing sporangiophore grows such that the maturing sporangium is aimed directly at the light.

When turgor pressure within the subsporangial vesicle builds to a sufficient level, (often 7 ATM or greater) the sporangium is launched, and can travel anywhere from a couple of centimeters to an incredible distance of 2 meters (6 feet), an amazing achievement for a sporangiophore less than 1 cm tall. The orientation of the stalk towards the light apparently guarantees that the sporangium is shot some distance from the excrement, enhancing the chances that it will attach to vegetation and be eaten by a new host.

Another interesting adaptation of Pilobolus is that the sporangium is covered in calcium oxalate crystals. Besides serving as a protective mechanism, their hydrophobic nature also leads the sporangium to flip over onto its sticky bottom after landing in a drop of dew, thus allowing it to cling to a plant substrate.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pilobolus

I did use adding objectiv (Jupiter-37A 3.5/135)

antonia, pirate, extramundi, red45, uleko, herve1993, cicindela, elizabeth, flashpoint, meyerd, Michau has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

unique good capture

great capture and lovely note

amazing pic, its nice we do not smell through computers, TFS Ori

Most interesting post, beautiful and amazing capture, fantastic read, a favourite MF.
Thanks and best regards, Felipe.

  • Great 
  • red45 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2636 W: 74 N: 9091] (31094)
  • [2007-08-16 7:59]

Ahoj Honzo!

After Felipe - very interesting subject, something I've never seen on TN before. Great note and picture. It is almost impossible to make good picture with added lens, but you made it and it looks great - like colony of alien crystal forms. Superb.

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2007-08-16 11:27]

Hello Jan,
This fungus is no doubt an important ingredient in the decomposition of natural material in nature, the importance of which we don't quite understand yet, but research is being carried out! Considering your camera, this is a fantastic capture showing very sharp details and fine colours of these very tiny fungi. Brilliant work!
Many thanks, Ulla

Bonjour Jan
C'est une image très réussie de ces curieuses créatures, aux formes si originales et à la biologie particulière. Très intéressant document.

Hi Jan,
and that is the true macro shot! 0.5 to 1 mm! This is a real microcosmos! Fantastic picture my Friend! I am very impressed by you technique and quality of this picture. I can even see the drops of water on the fungi! I will not guess how small the drops have to be! Definitelly one of the most impressive pictures on TN!
TFS and please show more!

Grate photo good sharpness and colour

hello Jan!
this a great macro shot with interesting
and thorough explanation of the process vital to this strange fungus that uses the
herbivorous animals to multiply.
compliments for fantastic portfolio

best sERGIO

Hi Jan, again,

I particularely appreciate this picture of yours. It shows a very unusual subject, it is a macro and you did an splendid job with the light. So interesting, and it's a breathtaking shot!
Best regards

  • Great 
  • Marx44 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 172 W: 97 N: 926] (3891)
  • [2009-03-13 11:35]

Bardzo ciekawe grzyby. Trochę wyglądają jak jaja jakiegoś płaza. Bardzo dobra głębia i ostrość.

Very nice picture and Pilobolus sporangiums well shown ready to shot.

Calibration Check