Starfish Fungus

Figure 22: Side view of Aseroe rubra

Figure 23: Top view of Aseroe rubra

Taxonomic  Classification:

Domain: Eukarya

Kingdom: Fungi

Phylum: Basidiomycota

Class: Agaricomycetes

Order: Phallales

Family: Phallaceae

Genus: Aseroe

Species: Aseroe rubra [60]

Why does the organism belong in this kingdom?

           Aseroe rubra is a multicellular organism. The features and different shapes would not be able to exist if it was unicellular. Also the organism has parts to it, with the top having arm like structure, and the bottom having a stem. [62] This characteristic alone classifies the Aseroe rubra in the Domain Eukarya. The Domain Archaea and Bacteria only have prokaryotic organism, which makes it impossible for them to be multicellular. The organism reproduces asexually via vegetative spores. When the spores are reproduced they lay on the arms of Aseroe rubra covered in a substance that attracts insects like flies. These insects then take spores and move around spreading the spores. [63] These characteristics belong in the kingdom Fungi, because organisms in this kingdom reproduce sexually or asexually via spores. [7] In addition, Aseroe rubra is not motile. It is stuck into the ground by the stem that holds it. The only possible way for movement is by the spores moving, which is also a characteristic of this kingdom. [6] All these characteristics don’t only fit in the kingdom Fungi, but also fit in the kingdom Plantae.  However, the kingdom Fungi have different types of mode of nutrition. One of the modes of nutrition that is included is saprotrophic, where the organism uses dead organic material as its energy source. [5] This particular organism is saprotrophic. It lives in mulch, and forest growth so that the organism is able to receive a source of energy. In more specific terms, the organism is saprobic, which only applies to fungus with a few exceptions. [64] This is what makes the organism only able to be classified in the kingdom Fungi. The kingdom Plantae does not include organisms that are saprotrophic. [8]

Description:

               The Aseroe rubra, has many different common names. Some of these names include, Sea Anemone fungus, Starfish fungus, and stinkhorn. [60] It can be found in tropical and subtropical areas. It can usually be found in grasslands, mountain woodlands and shaded areas with rich soil. The Aseroe rubra originated from the east of Australia and of New Zealand. From there it was spread across the world like England, and moving to the US too. [61] The organism is about 8 cm high that is round with stem outline. It comes in different colors including white, pink, red, or orange.  On the top of the organism, it is covered in brown smelling slime. On the top is 5-7 doubled tentacles, which are arranged around the outline on top in the circle. These tentacles could be measured up to about 4 cm. The center of the Aseroe rubra, is rugged, cylindrical and is white. [62] It reproduces by producing spores that are covered in the  awfully smelling slime. This happens to appeal to insects that therefore will come to this organism, and when the organism leaves, it has some spores that became stuck on the bottom of their feet. Then spreading the spores for Aseroe rubra because it is not motile. [63] When a stem breaks through the egg shaped container, it becomes a volva. It can be found in mulch, deep forest litter, and other areas with decomposing substances. This is because the organism is a saprotroph, and needs the dead material as its energy source. In addition, it usually starts to bloom in the summer and early fall. [64]

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