Fungus Accelerates Spores At 180K g (Video)

Clever scientists use 250,000 frames-per-second cameras to capture the spore discharge processes evolved among the fungi.

Those with the longest ranges are powered by hydrostatic pressure and include “squirt guns” that are most common in the Ascomycota and Zygomycota. In these fungi, fluid-filled stalks that support single spores or spore-filled sporangia, or cells called asci that contain multiple spores, are pressurized by osmosis.

Behold the video, set to the Anvil Chorus from Il Travatore.


(Fungus releases spores at 180,000 gs acceleration)

I know what you're thinking - there must be some sort of way to weaponize this kind of biological discharge. It just so happens that this very process is part of a devastating war between the humans and the slinkies in Gary Shockley's 1984 short story The Coming of the Goonga.

In the story, which is told from the point of view of the aliens, human beings land on an alien planet inhabited by small creatures who use other animals to fire weapons at great speed.

"Op!" the conjuremaster Pedeet barks my name. I shake free of entrancement and see that inattention has let my goonga grow restless. (Awakener [one of the human crew] calls our goongas "bagpipes," but I prefer our name). It is trying to belly out. That would kink its eight long snouts or dislodge the slender hollow reeds we have fitted in the ends. Jentzoot and Kamin prod it from this urge while I apply myself to fondling. Soon it quivers with only one wish. I communicate this fact to the pointers, who load; then I slip around to the glands. ...I fondle and squeeze. We hear... the coming of the goonga.

This latter is a sharp "whoof" almost a thunderclap, and the goonga's fierce compaction sends me sprawling.

[Awakener] looks down upon her own body and sees the eight fibrillances piercing her chest and stomach, pinning her against the structure behind.

You're probably thinking to yourself that this must be a very bizzare story. You have no idea. Unfortunately, the only place that I know to find it is in The 1985 Annual World's Best SF edited by Donald A. Wollheim.

From The Fastest Flights in Nature via /..

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/7/2008)

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