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:
"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.
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.
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."