Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Continuing the lavatorial theme...

Following on from the RSPB's list addition from within a portaloo, BTO have gone one better and actually added three new species from a piece of, er, poo. Rabbit dung, more precisely.

During a fungus foray a few weeks ago, we were helped in our quest by Tony Leech, father of Dave Leech (Head of BTO Nest Records), but more importantly also Norfolk Fungus Recorder. Tony politely helped us look at the larger fungi we spotted, but he had much smaller targets in his sights. He soon scooped up some rabbit droppings and popped them in a pot.

Now, I've often been accused of acting somewhat bizzarely in the search for new species, so it was highly reassuring to me to find someone apparently acting even more oddly. But no, Tony has now come back to report that not one, not two, but three species of fungi have grown out of these droppings. More amazingly, two of them appear to be entirely new to Norfolk! (Hard to believe, given the large numbers of rabbit dung fungus culturers who must be out there...) These are Schizothecium tetrasporum and S. vesticola, in addition to the more widespread Coprinopsis cordispora.

What the listing ethics committees will have to say about these is anyone's guess (although several of us were part of the fungus foray and did see the dung being collected, and Dave did peer down the microscope when visiting home).

Schizothecium tetrasporum (proposed common name Dalek Dung Fungus) - Tony Leech

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