Feeds

'Spongiforma squarepantsii' lifeform found in Borneo

Bizarre rubbery sponge-shroom stuns jungle boffins

High performance access to file storage

Boffins have discovered a strange new type of spongy mushroom in the island rainforests of Borneo and decided to name it Spongiforma squarepantsii in homage to the well-known American cartoon featuring a talking sponge who lives under the sea.

S squarepantsii was found by Professor Dennis Desjardin last year, and is a novel bright-orange spongelike mushroom.

"It's just like a sponge with these big hollow holes," explains Desjardin. "When 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."

According to descriptions by Desjardin and his fellow jungle-mushroom hunters, their new find is capable of turning purple under the right conditions and smells "vaguely fruity or strongly musty".

According to Desjardin, S squarepantsii has deviated from the usual cap-and-stem architecture of other mushrooms as an alternative means of keeping its spores moist. A normal mushroom grows the stem to get the spores up high and help them spread, and uses its cap to stop them drying out, but Squarepants uses its spongy structure to quickly hoover up more airborne moisture should it dry out.

"It has become gelatinous or rubbery," says the prof. "Its adaptation is to revive very quickly if it dries out, by absorbing very small amounts of moisture from the air."

You can read all about S squarepantsii in the paper Spongiforma squarepantsii, a new species of gasteroid bolete from Borneo, recently published by Desjardin and his colleagues in the journal Mycologia. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.