Stinkhorns are amongst my favourite fungi. Yes, I know they are considered the "ugly ducklings" of the fungi world, but their offensive reputation is simply a magnet to me. I am always delighted to stumble upon these weird fungi forms, sometimes just having to follow my nose in order to locate them.
I believe this stinkhorn to be Pseudocolus fusiformis, commonly known as Stinky Squid Fungus, although I am not definite about my identification. If any fungi experts out there can confirm or deny my identification, I would be most grateful.
I have found this stinkhorn fungus on two occasions, both in mulch at the Hunter Wetlands at Shortland, Newcastle. It is the foulest smelling stinkhorn species I have encountered, resembling the stench of a blocked or unmaintained septic sewer system. The odour emanated for quite a distance.
Arms of Pseudocolus fusiformis emerging from leaf-litter
When leaf-litter is scraped away the "eggs" can be seen
Like all stinkhorn fungi, Pseudocolus fusiformis starts out as a gelatinous egg-like form buried or semi-buried in the substrate. As it ages, the fruit body emerges from the "egg". Up to 4 arms are joined to a single "stem" and are joined at the apex.
The green/brown or brown slimy spore-bearing gleba is present on the inside surface of the arms. The foul odour attracts flies which distribute the spores.
There is more information on Pseudocolus fusiformis at Mushroom Expert.
Notice the gelatinous substance in the ruptured "egg"
[This will be updated with new sightings]
Hunter Wetlands (Shortland, Newcastle) - in mulch or leaf-litter - Jun, Dec.
Arms are joined at apex and gleba is presented
on the inside surface of the arms