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Hypomyces lactifluorum        Lobster Fungus

This widespread and common fungus attacks the fruitbodies of species of the mushrooms Lactarius and Russula.  The mushroom fruitbodies develop abnormally and become brilliant orange or orange-red.  Affected mushrooms are malformed and the gills either do not develop or are reduced to low ridges. The fruitbodies of the parasite appear as tiny dark dots (= perithecia) embedded in the host mushroom.  The ascospores are shot off and often gather as a white to cream powder over the surface of the malformed mushroom.   The perithecia of the parasite are immersed in a mixture of host and parasite tissue and this mixture is referred to as a pseudostroma (= false stroma).  The true stroma is made up entirely of fungus tissue as in Dead Man's Fingers (=Xylaria polymorpha).