Spooky wildlife - Devil's Fingers fungus

27 October 2020 | Posted in Guest blogger , fungi
Spooky wildlife - Devil's Fingers fungus
Devil's Fingers fungus © Sue Robinson

We noticed some wonderful photos of the rare, non-native and extremely spooky Devil's Fingers fungus being shared on Twitter by Sussex Wildlife Trust members Sue Robinson and Lisa Saw. Sue and Lisa have been kind enough to let us use their images. They have been returning to keep an eye on progress, and Lisa sent us her experience of coming across it:

02 Alien in egg Lisa Saw

"It might resemble an alien from a sci-fi film and has a strong, unpleasant smell, but these red tentacle-like arms belong to the aptly named Devil’s Fingers fungus, which is a rare find in the UK. Clathrus archeri erupts from an egg and is covered in spore-containing gleba – not to be confused with melted chocolate – which flies will help to spread.

Devils fingers SR

Sue Robinson

I was thrilled to discover this colourful fungus and see a few of the eggs in East Sussex, mid to late October. Watching the development from the egg has been amazing. I’m a newbie when it comes to fungi and have really enjoyed getting out this autumn photographing the different varieties – who knew there were so many. I also love the challenge of trying to identify them.

Devils fingers 2 SR

Sue Robinson

I’m a self-employed adult dance teacher, but my passion is wildlife photography. I love nothing more than being out in nature and, like so many people, it has been a lifeline during this challenging year. It’s been wonderful, and a privilege, to have been able to spend more time than usual appreciating what’s on my doorstep. I’m noticing so much more these days."

Websize Lisa Saw 01 Devil's Fingers

Lisa Saw


  • A. Caudell:

    27 Oct 2020 11:25:00

    As a non-native species, are you sure that this fungus is not invasive? What does it grow on? We should be vigilant, in view of the recent very unwelcome introductions into the UK.

    Hi. Not all non-native species are problematic and Clathrus archeri is not currently of conservation concern. It is generally found in deciduous woodland, parkland or flowerbeds mulched with wood chippings, and remains uncommon to rare in south and west England. By reporting any sightings, we can get a better picture of its distribution and rate of spread – the best way to report is via iRecord: brc.ac.uk/irecord
  • Ali Eyet:

    27 Oct 2020 12:44:00

    Amazing pictures. What a weird looking thing it is.

  • Caroline Groom:

    25 Aug 2021 18:32:00

    I live in Cuckfield West Sussex, and l have had two batches of about 5-6 fingers this year!!! Once in July and another crop this week in exactly the same area in my garden. I’m am so bemused how they are growing here!

Leave a comment