In stinkhorn seasons, you’ll see a lot of wtf? identification requests on facebook. The answers are as weird as the questions.
Here’s Phallus hadriani, one of about 11 stinkhorn fungi we found in the yard this morning. Native, stinky, but quite tasty to the flies, ants and other tiny critters at work on the slime. Postprandial wanderings will spread the spores. (Pictured specimen has already lost its slime and is reduced to the sponge-cake / morel stage.)
All these stinkhorns are no doubt nourished from the decaying stumps of our former accidental hedge (wintercreeper, privet and bush honeysuckle).
From invasive ugliness comes native weirdness and a far more useful niche in the foodweb.
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(Thanks to Dr. Steve Murphree who said the rust-colored fly might be in the Dryomzidae family. It sure looks like the ones over at BugGuide.)