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Spongiforma squarepantsii, a sponge-like fungi
June 17, 2011 11:18 AM   Subscribe

What lives in the rainforest, under a tree? Spongiforma squarepantsii! Who resembles a sponge but is really a fungee*? Spongiforma squarepantsii! First discovered in a tropical forest in Borneo in 2010, S. squarepantsii resembles a sea sponge not only in outward appearance, but "[w]hen it's wet and moist and fresh, you can wring water out of it and it will spring back to its original size. Most mushrooms don't do that," as told by Dennis Desjardin, a mycology professor involved with the discovery. * I claim artistic license.

The other species in the Spongiforma family is S. thailandica, which Desjardin and company identified in 2009 (PDF; Google Quickview).
posted by filthy light thief (32 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
....lunchboxes, t-shirts, mp3 players, books, games, dvd's, toothpaste, soap, towels, sippy cups and now, fungus.

THE SPONGEBOB MARKETING PEOPLE MUST BE STOPPED.
posted by zarq at 11:24 AM on June 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I love it when scientists give a little nod to popular culture like this. It's good for kids to relate to science. Our school system tends to make the entire discipline seem scary and unapproachable.

My youngest would like to get into microbiology (he's been studying luciferase in vibrio fisceri), and I'm always pleased when I find something on Mefi that might interest him.
posted by misha at 11:29 AM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Other less-than-serious scientific names include Sonic hedgehog homolog and Masiakasaurus knopfleri.
posted by MUD at 11:31 AM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


misha - I presume you've heard of sonic hedgehog.
posted by maryr at 11:32 AM on June 17, 2011


For those of you who found it curious that both linked articles mention that potassium hydroxide caused a color change in the mushroom, Wikipedia suggests that that is a standard identification technique in mycology:
Potassium hydroxide is used to identify certain kinds of mushrooms. A 3-5% aqueous solution of KOH is applied to the flesh of a mushroom and the researcher notes whether or not the color of the flesh changes. Certain species of boletes, polypores, and many gilled mushrooms are identified based on this color-change reaction.
It's on a list of tests here as well. There's not much indication of what the color change indicates - looks like it's just used for identification?
posted by maryr at 11:35 AM on June 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Gary Larson (Of Far Side fame) has THREE animals named after him, a louse a butterfly and a beetle: Strigiphilus garylarsoni, Serratoterga larsoni. and The Garylarsonus Beetle.
posted by The Whelk at 11:36 AM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I hope the next scientist who discovers a sexually transmitted disease is a Gossip Girl fan, so that kids today will think twice before engaging in unsafe behavior lest they get a Chuck Bassterial Infection or a case of Serena Van Der Craps.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:36 AM on June 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


The Whelk: "Gary Larson (Of Far Side fame) has THREE animals named after him, a louse a butterfly and a beetle: Strigiphilus garylarsoni, Serratoterga larsoni. and The Garylarsonus Beetle."

Well, for a number of years he was practically the patron comic saint of scientists and um... well....
posted by zarq at 11:38 AM on June 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Serena Van Der Craps sounds more like a form of food poisoning you'd get from fancy NYC restaurant. :)
posted by antifuse at 11:39 AM on June 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


There's a turtle (of course) named after Terry Pratchett. And in the course of googling for that, I found out there's a town that's twinned to Ankh-Morpork with several Discworldy street names. Awesome!
posted by kmz at 11:41 AM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Best thing since the thagomizer.
posted by FelliniBlank at 11:42 AM on June 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


For species names, I like the slime-mold beetle genus Agathidium, which includes species: Of course, Drosophila geneticists are known for their whimsical gene-naming choices, and it was the original source of hedgehog. My favorites are sevenless and its interaction partner bride of sevenless.
posted by grouse at 11:43 AM on June 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


See also Alderia willowi, named, in part after Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, by Patrick Krug, who does an amazing seminar on Sea Slug Orgies and other Deviances.
posted by lalochezia at 11:43 AM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Whelk: Gary Larson (Of Far Side fame) has THREE animals named after him ...

Not to mention the Thagomizer.

Some of those Drosophila names, and others.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:45 AM on June 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


FelliniBlank: "Best thing since the thagomizer."

Oh, that's hilarious. :D
The fate of Thag Simmons notwithstanding, dinosaurs and humans did not exist in the same era. In The Prehistory of the Far Side, Gary Larson suggests that "there should be cartoon confessionals where we could go and say things like, 'Father, I have sinned – I have drawn dinosaurs and hominids together in the same cartoon.'"[13]

posted by zarq at 11:48 AM on June 17, 2011


Metafilterus Websiticus
posted by blue_beetle at 11:50 AM on June 17, 2011


zarq: "The Whelk: "Gary Larson (Of Far Side fame) has THREE animals named after him, a louse a butterfly and a beetle: Strigiphilus garylarsoni, Serratoterga larsoni. and The Garylarsonus Beetle."

Well, for a number of years he was practically the patron comic saint of scientists and um... well....
"

One day I was sitting in church in the 90s w/my friend. He whispered to me "Did you hear that Gary Larson's retarded?" My eyes got wide. Really? WOW. That is impressive.

Yeah. Turns out he was saying "retired". Woops!
posted by symbioid at 12:22 PM on June 17, 2011


Portobello.

.
posted by xod at 12:37 PM on June 17, 2011


Late at night, often fueled by mere inspiration, people would draw anthropomorphic characters.
AND LOOK!
posted by clavdivs at 12:58 PM on June 17, 2011


Is it edible? Imagine all the butter it could soak up.
posted by Splunge at 1:07 PM on June 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Just a note: I am not a researcher of fungi. I am also not a bank, much to my chagrin.
posted by desjardins at 1:20 PM on June 17, 2011


I imagine James Dobson is going to be upset about this and its potential to promote homosexuality in the fungal kingdom
posted by Dodecadermaldenticles at 2:44 PM on June 17, 2011


It looks more like Mrs. SquarePants than SpongeBob himself.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:55 PM on June 17, 2011


Is it too much to ask that the cashier ringing you up at the supermarket be able to identify it as a mushroom?
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:56 PM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Clearly you're just some gardens.
posted by maryr at 4:14 PM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, for a number of years he was practically the patron comic saint of scientists

Based on the number of times I've seen Larson's work on syllabi, handouts, and lecture slides lately, I'd say he still is. Then again, I may be biased by being in the Anthropology department, where the sense of humor is positively fossilized.
posted by TungstenChef at 4:23 PM on June 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


My favorites are sevenless and its interaction partner bride of sevenless.

I'm partial to the mothers against decapentaplegic gene family and Ether-à-go-go.
posted by dephlogisticated at 5:20 PM on June 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


TungstenChef: "Well, for a number of years he was practically the patron comic saint of scientists

Based on the number of times I've seen Larson's work on syllabi, handouts, and lecture slides lately, I'd say he still is. Then again, I may be biased by being in the Anthropology department, where the sense of humor is positively fossilized.
"

It's gneiss that you think so.
posted by Splunge at 7:24 PM on June 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


EXCELLENT FPP! I don't even have anything to contribute, just that this is the coolesst thing I've seen in awhile. I think I was a mycologist in a past life, seriously.
posted by polly_dactyl at 8:07 AM on June 18, 2011


Very cool.
posted by suzy e. at 3:33 PM on June 18, 2011


Oh umm... I'm sure no-one is reading but I just remembered this little character/joke thing I made up based off of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy.

Moo-Cow Sponge-Brain. Get it? I KILL ME!
posted by symbioid at 1:20 PM on June 21, 2011


Glow-in-the-dark mushrooms rediscovered after 170 years
posted by homunculus at 1:26 PM on July 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


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