What the heck is that? It isn’t necessarily associated with the estuary, but we’ve seen this interesting fungus on the grounds near our headquarters building several times over the years and have identified it as Clathrus ruber, or “basket stinkhorn.”
The inside of this cage fungus is coated with slime that emits a putrid odor (smells like rotting meat) to attract flies that help distribute its spores. The smell is so bad it is also nicknamed “devil’s eggs” because the fungus sprouts from an egg-shaped ball. Although native to Europe, the fungus is not harmful or toxic, but boy does it stink! It helps decompose dead organic material such as hardwood mulch.
Rookery Bay Research Reserve
Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve stretches across 110,000 acres of pristine mangrove forest, uplands and protected waters. We are committed to preservation through research, education, and land protection.