Hatching stinkhorn

And another one nearby a little farther along

Critique Style Requested: Standard

The photographer is looking for generalized feedback about the aesthetic and technical qualities of their image.


Not exactly mushroom season out here but these were coming up in some nice loam near a sprinkler at Sonoma Botanical Garden. It is apparently Clathrus ruber.

Specific Feedback

All comments welcome!

Technical Details

Screen Shot 2023-09-15 at 3.50.50 PM

Both just raw files with slight global adjustments and a little crop.

Wow, I did not know a plant like this “hatched” in some way. Really cool to see. I like the texture of the plant shown in these images. The contrast of the plant to its surroundings adds to the interest of the image also.

Said to have “the vilest odor of any stinkhorn”, I read, so you did a stalwart job here, Diane. It would be interesting to see a longer series of shots, showing before and after stages, as it transforms itself so much (like many fruiting fungi) - but I think you might pass on that!

What a cool find, Diane. I especially like the second one that’s farther along.m but the first has interesting characteristics and the two together tell the story better. Technically excellent as usual.

Wow, Diane, this is definitely a first for me, not only have I never seen anything like this, I never would have imagined that it sort of “hatched” as you show in the first image and as the name implies.
The color of the wet, slimy looking guts make me think that it might have a very unpleasant odor! :skunk:
From what I read online, it smells like death.

You certainly did a great job of capturing it with good detail, DOF and exposure, no surprise there!
I’m just glad that the odor doesn’t come through in an image :roll_eyes:
Does that odor only come out if you disturb it in some way or, does it put off that odor all the time?

Well done and thanks for sharing this unique to me image. :slight_smile:

Diane, this is sure new to me too. I never knew anything like it was in existence. I hope you didn’t have to deal with any unpleasant smells to get these images, but I sure appreciate you sharing them.

Thanks, @Allen_Sparks, @Mike_Friel, @Dennis_Plank, @Merv and @Shirley_Freeman! My lens had a 3 ft MFD so I wasn’t super close, but I think maybe the odor only comes as it decays. Occasionally on one of the paths I’ll suddenly smell an awful odor – the sort that makes me think I may have stepped in doggie doo. I’ll start looking for one next time that happens.


I looked it up. The slimy stuff in the middle contains the spores and it stinks to attract flies that then spread the spores. Very, very cool!!!


Nice fine, Diane. Very unusual and I have not seen anything like this. Like the nice crisp detail in the subject.

Oh man, a stinkhorn! So cool. Really nicely shown, too. The lattice is so interesting and unusual in fungi. I’ve never seen (or smelled) one in real life so I’m a bit green! Terrific texture and contrast to showcase its 3D look.

Other mushroom species “hatch” from eggs, the most well known is the Amanita family. Each egg consists of a universal veil that splits as the fruiting body expands. The spots on the top of the caps of Amanitas species are remnants of the universal veil and sometimes the rest of it can be seen at the base of the stipe (stem). The little skirts you sometimes see on them are from the partial veil that covers the gills and tears away as the mushroom expands.

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