How do fungi attack
How do fungi attack tiny animals?
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 harpoon.
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 15 .
A much more detailed account can be found in the book The Fifth Kingdom