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Biology

Fungi are neither plants nor animals but belong to their own kingdom. They are unable to produce their own food through the process of photosynthesis, as plants do; instead, they acquire nutrients from living or dead plants, animals, or other fungi, as animals do. In many larger fungi (lichens excepted) the only visible parts are the fruiting bodies, which arise from a largely unseen network of threads called 'hyphae'. These hyphae permeate the fungus's food source, which may be soil, leaf litter, rotten wood, dung, and so on, depending on the species. Very little is known of the bizarre sandy stiltball fungus (2). The fruiting body is produced between September and November (5), either singly or in small groups (6). The stalk remains in place throughout winter, a feature that allows the presence of the species to be identified for a longer period (3).

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