wpe21.jpg (89810 bytes)

Hyphal Network  in Arthrobotrys

Hyphae in soil exploit the substrate and are guided to nutrient sources by chemical signals.  While they colonize their habitat, connections (anastomoses) are made with other hyphae in their own system.  Thus, a three dimensional network is created and all parts of the hyphae maintain contact with the 'collective'.  The hyphal interconnections (anastomoses) are sufficiently frequent that damage to any part of the hyphal system can be bipassed and nutrients rerouted through undamaged regions.   It  can be compared to an electrical power grid but, considering recent happenings in NE North America, nature has done a better job of design.  

It should be remembered that these hyphal 'grids' are sufficiently extensive that they can supply the requirements in nutrients and water for massive  fruitbodies such as are found in mushrooms and Giant Puffballs (weigh ten kilos or  more). For rapid transport of massive amounts of nutrients many hyphal filaments are organized into specialized hyphal strands called rhizomorphs containing hiundreds or even thousands of hyphae in more or less parallel array.    Rhizomorphs are  nutrient  rich conduits and are often   protected from asttack by a thick hard rind of small, thick-walled, dark cells, containing melanins and phenols.