Win a copy of Permaculture Design Companion this week in the Permaculture Design forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Anne Miller
  • paul wheaton
stewards:
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Mike Jay Haasl
  • Burra Maluca
garden masters:
  • James Freyr
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Dave Burton
  • Pearl Sutton

Do Ants move your slurries around?

 
Posts: 203
Location: NNSW Australia
29
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So, I made some large slurries of Agaricus campestris a month ago and drenched the mulch around my raised gardens and fruit trees with it.

Today a large clump of campestris mushroom fruit has appeared from the bottom of the compost bin (where I frequently dig out the rich soil), a few feet away from the nearest spot where I applied the slurry.
In many decades of living here and having a bin there, we've never had these mushrooms anywhere near this area or at all this time of year (40C).

I'm pretty sure the only explanation is that ants living in the dry mulch inside the bin (coarse palm fronds and lots of green tree prunings), ventured out and harvested the mycelium slurry and stored/farmed it in their nest.
The bin gets regular watering being adjacent to the gardens and the mushrooms are very blackened by the hot temperatures.

-
I'd like to repeat this accidental ant-cultivation experiment, but with parasol mushrooms - which are delicious and easy to forage, but seem to grow exclusively with the help of ants.
 
pollinator
Posts: 3118
Location: Toronto, Ontario
383
hugelkultur dog forest garden fungi trees rabbit urban wofati cooking bee homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I don't think that's the only explanation. Mycelia will spread far from the initial inoculation site. That may simply have been the single spot with the best humidity and temperature for the sprouting of the fungal fruit bodies (mushrooms). The mycelial network likely spreads from the spot you inoculated out at least as far as the mushrooms you found, and potentially in a circle twice the diameter of that distance surrounding the point of inoculation, though moisture seems to be the determining factor.

I mean, there's nothing saying the ants aren't relocating your slurry bits, but it's not like they sought out individual mushroom bits or spores and relocated them to the spot where you found mushrooms, and lo and behold, mushrooms grew there. The logic of plants and seeds doesn't necessarily follow for fungi.

-CK
 
Jondo Almondo
Posts: 203
Location: NNSW Australia
29
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The speed with which fruiting occurred and the lack of mycelium in the mulch where slurries were placed leave me thinking ants.
Also the temperature has regularly been 35-40C which isn't ideal for mycelium growth.

Maybe I'm wrong and the mycelium simply took a circuitous route to it's fruiting location
But if we can manufacture the conditions for the cultivation of fungi by ants - thats a pretty big efficiency win.
Also a win for diversity - campestris is not usually cultivated because of its fast maturation and short shelf-life.

There are hundreds of species of fungi-cultivating ants and many of them focus on the Agaricaceae.
It seems that cultivation of Parasol mushrooms is exceedingly rare and that Stamets instructions for growing them in Mycelium Running are either complex (spawn & woodchips grown over with grass that is repeatedly mown) or involve using ants.
 
gardener
Posts: 6270
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
1024
hugelkultur dog forest garden duck fish fungi hunting books chicken writing homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You have leaf cutter ants? those are the ones that grow fungi for their food.  Other species will go gather their foods and if they were to drag or walk through your inoculated area they would pick up some of that slurry either on the food stuff or on their feet so that when they got home the spores would settle in and start growing.

Parasol mushrooms are one of the types of fungus that is used by some ant species either for food or as an attractant for food insects (baiting by the ants).

Redhawk
 
Jondo Almondo
Posts: 203
Location: NNSW Australia
29
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Leafcutter ants make up two of the 46 genera of fungi-cultivating ants (known as Attini).

Species in the Attini tribe cultivate all sorts of fungi from yeast cells to parasols.

No mention of them cultivating field mushrooms or opportunistically cultivating new species, so maybe spore-covered ant-footprints are the likeliest vector.
Then again, parasols are Agaricacae just like field mushrooms and have a similar smell.
 
Any sufficiently advanced technology will be used as a cat toy. And this tiny ad contains a very small cat:
A rocket mass heater is the most sustainable way to heat a conventional home
http://woodheat.net
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!