• A. muscaria has many nutritional characteristics in common with all members of the Fungi Kingdom:

        1. Like animals, A. muscaria is heterotrophic, meaning it acquires nutrients by    
            consuming organic material.  This is one characteristic that helped scientists
            determine that fungi are more closely related to animals than plants.

        2. Unlike animals, A. muscaria digests its food prior to ingestion.  This is accomplished
            via exoenzymes that are synthesized in the endoplasmic reticulum and transported to
            the hyphal tips in vesicles.   Upon fusion with the membrane, the vesicle dumps the
            exoenzymes on to the substrate.  The exoenzymes then degrade that substrate into
            smaller molecules that can be by the hyphae.

        3. Under conditions where food sources are abundant, A. muscaria stores sugars as
            glycogen,  another similarity between fungi and animals.

Photo courtesy of Georg Müller

  • The most important nutritional characteristic that A. muscaria  possesses has to be the symbiotic relationship it forms with trees known as ectomycorrhizae.  This is a characteristic found throughout the phyla Basidiomycota.  Through this relationship, both A. muscaria and the host tree benefit.  The host supplies A. muscaria with sugars produced via photosynthesis.  In return, A. muscaria provides the host with increased surface area to increase its water uptake and aids the roots in absorption of vital nutrients such as phosphorous and nitrogen.  I will go into more detail about ectomycorrhizae and its structure in in the adaptations page.

But before we look at the adaptations A. muscaria has developed, take a look at the methods it uses for Reproduction.