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The Basic Body Plan and Reproduction of the Fungi Help

By — McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Aug 30, 2011

Introduction to The Basic Body Plan and Reproduction of the Fungi

In addition to the common characteristics already mentioned, there is also a basic body plan shared by most multicellular fungi. For illustration purposes, we will use a mushroom or fruiting body (Figure 8.2). The fruiting body of the mushroom releases many spores or “seeds” for reproduction. Millions of spores are given off from a mature mushroom or other fungus and float through the air, many of them falling down onto a neighboring area suitable as a food source. When the spore lands, it sprouts and starts absorbing nutrients. The spore grows out to create a hypha ( HIGH -fah), a thin, thread-like filament. The word, hypha, comes from the Greek for “web.” As its literal meaning suggests, each individual hypha branches repeatedly in a web-like manner as it grows. And two adjacent hyphae ( HIGH -fee) of different mating types can fuse together and branch even more extensively. The result is a mycelium (my- SEE -lee-um) or “fungus nail,” actually a web-like network consisting of thousands of branching hyphae or filaments. The mycelium of a mushroom is mostly located underground. The mycelium finally pushes up above the earth, creating the fleshy fruiting body or reproductive structure we call a mushroom. Quite surprisingly, what we consider a solid mushroom is actually an extensive web or network of hyphae (filaments), packed tightly together! And this umbrella-shaped mushroom is just the above-ground fruiting body (reproductive structure) of a much more broad and extensive mycelium hidden below the surface. [ Study suggestion: Buy some fresh whole mushrooms and slice them thinly. Using a strong magnifying glass, look for a network of hyphae or slender filaments within each cap.]

The Fungi: Not Just Mushrooms! The Basic Body Plan and Reproduction of the Fungi

Fig. 8.1 The fungi: A kingdom of molds, yeasts, and mushrooms.

The Fungi: Not Just Mushrooms! The Basic Body Plan and Reproduction of the Fungi

Fig. 8.2 The mushroom as a body plan for a fungus.

 

Practice problems for these concepts can be found at:  The Fungi: Not Just Mushrooms Test

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