The soil is riddled with fungal filaments. Many kinds of
small animals such as thread worms (nematodes) and spring
tails (Collembola) also live in the soil. Some fungi
have evolved ways of exploiting these animals as sources
of nitrogen. Either by infecting them or by capturing them.
Let me count the ways...
Methods of infecting animals
1.) Spores that swim - these microscopic spores recognize
the smell of a nematode and swim toward it.
2.) Spores that are injected into the animal like a micropscopic
3.) Spores that stick to the animal.
4.) Spores that are eaten by the animal.
5.) Spores that are like rings and fit around the animal
like a collar.
Methods of trapping animals
6.) Sticky hyphae
7.) Sticky nets
8.) Sticky knobs
9.) Rings that constrict quickly to capture the animal
in a 10th of a second.
10.) Anaesthetic substances which knock out the animal
while the fungus attacks.
For pictures showing most of these techniques go to Chapter
A much more detailed account can be found in the book and
on the cdrom.