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Published: November 12th 2016
My Aussie Backyard...Fungi of the Third Kingdom.
Is a fish an animal? What about a spider? Do you know?
It seems fish are animals...just like birds...and other things that slither, climb and crawl...spiders, lizards, snakes and insects...animals all they say.
Then there are the rocks and the trees.
That means I've got animal, vegetable and mineral in my Aussie backyard. Flora, fauna and rocks.
Flora means plant life and fauna means animal life...and rocks mean rocks.
But sometimes (usually after rain) something sticks it's head out of my Aussie backyard and says "Notice me"...and I didn't really hear it until I heard that fungi are NOT plants.
And that really blew my mind.
All living things that are not plant or animal are called "biota"...fungi, bacteria and some slimy things that are neither.
Welcome to the Five Kingdoms of Life.
The First Kingdom are the animals. Animals are multicellular creatures that feed on other organisms. Their cells don't have a cell wall. Animals either have a backbone or spine (vertebrates) such as mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles. The majority are invertebrates (no backbone) such as molluscs
(squid, octopus, clams, shell creatures that cling to rocks, snails), arthropods (insects, spiders, crabs, centipedes), annelids (leeches and worms), cnidarians (jellyfish, corals) and sponges. The animal kingdom includes all of those creatures. The study of animals is called zoology.
The Second Kingdom are the plants. Plants produce nutrients through a process called photosynthesis, and they have cellulose cell walls. The plant kingdom includes trees, algae, ferns, bamboo, mosses, and flowering plants. The study of plants is called botany or phytology. Whose ever called it phytology? Give me a break!
The Third Kingdom are the Fungi. Fungi have chitin cell walls, and they use spores to reproduce instead of seeds. The fungi kingdom includes moulds, yeast and mushrooms.
The Fourth Kingdom are the Prokaryotes...organisms that have cells with no nucleus. Their cells do have cell walls that aren't made out of cellulose. The prokaryote kingdom includes blue-green algae and bacteria.
The fifth Kingdom are the Protoctists...single-celled organisms that includes the amoeba and paramecium.
The study of fungi is called mycology and the studier is a mycologist.
I like to photograph fungi. I wonder what that makes me...a photomycologist? Kinda like that name.
like being an 'ologist. I did a blog about being an 'ologist once but can't remember what it was about.
So an 'ologist I will be...covers a myriad of obsessions I reckon!!!
I do not know whether I fear or love or are simply fascinated by fungi. Maybe its an ambivalent relationship.
Some are decomposers assisting in the breakdown of dead plant matter contributing to humus decomposition thus fertilizing the soil and contributing to the carbon cycle.
Some are parasitic causing disease in plants such as mildew and rust.
Fungal diseases in food crops can cause significant crop and economic loss.
Some cause diseases in animals.
And some are skin diseases in humans such as tinea, athlete's foot, ringworm and thrush.
But I love mushrooms...the edible sorts of course.
And then there are blue meanies...hallucinogens...while others are certainly not edible...deadly poison no less.
Yep...I think I have an ambivalent relationship with fungi...great to photograph and to visually delight.
But to otherwise ingest?
Fungi to me are fantasy...but to the experts they are best left.
But enough talk...lest we fall behind.
Come walk with me in my
Aussie backyard...and let's see what we can find.
Relax & Enjoy,
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