I have been making an effort to actually identify the contaminants that grow in my petri dishes. In this case the contaminants are those dark green spore islands.
Looking at them under the microscope reveals that the spores of this species are produced at the tip of these finger-like structures. These spore-producing structures are called "[conidiophores](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conidium)". The presence of these structures is a characteristic of the phylum Ascomycota, within the fungi kingdom.
Different groups of ascomycetes produce conidia with different morphologies. Looking through microscopic pictures I can see that this morphology of conidia is characteristic of the Penicillium genus.
I am having trouble narrowing it down to the species level. Maybe P. digitatum or P. roqueforti, based on the macroscopic morphology and how common they are. But there are too many other options, so it is difficult for me to know for sure. If anyone around here is good with identification, please let me know.
I recently discovered the AntsCanada YouTube channel. This guy makes amazing terrariums for growing ant colonies (and sometimes other species), and has some very informative videos with high quality macro videography. I have learned a lot about ants watching his videos these past few days.
This particular video might be valuable to people into mycology too. Several animal species are known to farm fungi, but this is the only instance I know of this process being documented in video in such detail.
Usually Shaggy Mane mushrooms are prepared fresh, before they "deliquesce" into a black goo. However, the black goo is edible, and I thought that this recipe was very cool as it shows the black goo being used as an interesting ingredient.
Last year I tried to grow king oyster mushrooms in paper towels (to get an effect similar to this: https://www.fieldforest.net/product/Oyster-TeePee-Kit/Indoor-Introductions). The paper towels were colonized very efficiently, but it stayed several months without fruiting.
Eventually, trichoderma began growing on top of the mycelium, and I gave up, so I put the whole thing into my worm bin.
I was under the impression that any spent mushroom blocks added to the worm bin would be doomed, because of the very competitive environment in the bin (molds, earthrowms, bacteria, springtails, mites, etc..., many of which I thought would eat and out-compete a mushroom)
Welp, I was wrong. It has been easily over 6 months and suddenly I found these very nice fruits just popping up in the bin. These guys are actually quite resilient!
I have learned something new. Mushrooms can indeed survive and fruit in a worm bin!*
\* I have thrown spent blocks of several other species and this is the first time that I have seen mushrooms fruiting in the bin.
cross-posted from: https://lemmy.ml/post/214527
> Fungi most likely being the first multicellular organism on the planet makes this highly intriguing. Hopefully the increase in fungal curiosity makes it easier to study mycology on an academic level here soon!
I was experimenting with culture isolation and became a bit distracted with other things. This agar plate was prepared in October and left in a drawer, so it has been about 3 months since then.