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The Fastest Flights in Nature: A Fungal Opera

     Author: Hayley Kilroy


The fungus Pilobolus kleinii, which grows on herbivore dung, uses hydrostatic pressure to launch its sporangia into the air. The spores land on fresh, clean grass, which can be eaten by an herbivore, allowing the fungus to complete its life cycle. This video shows a montage of the fungus's amazing launches, which have the fastest recorded acceleration in nature, set to Verdi's Anvil Chorus. The video is designed to artistically showcase the amazing abilities of fungi, which are much less studied than plants and animals. The video was captured in Nik Money's laboratory at Miami University, Oxford, OH, in 2008, using high-speed video cameras mounted on microscopes.

For more technical information on the flights and acceleration of Pilobolus kleinii, please see the following article: