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Mutinus ravenelii              Dog Stinkhorn

The Dog Stinkhorn is widespread but not particularly common.  I have found this species fruiting under conifers, on old well-rotted conifer stumps and in grass near flower beds.  The mature fruitbody is about 5 cm tall  and the ellipsoid "egg" stages  only a centimetre or so tall (click here).  The bright red cap is at first hidden by a  dark, olive-green mass that is a mixture of spores, sugars and evil smelling goo.  As you see in the photo, this is attractive to large Dipteran flies (particularly bluebottles) that feast avidly on the mixture.  This pair arrived a little late for the party and most of the "food"  has gone.  The spores contaminate the bodies of the flies and are carried off to new sites for growth or are perhaps defecated in a viable condition.

According to reports Mutinus caninus is a smaller, more delicate species with a slender, white stalk.  Mutinus ravenelii is the more common species in this region.