Vanishing Mushroom

   Coprinus Aqueous   -    Spitting Ink Cap    .
 Coprinopsis lagopus varient?
Coprinus Aqueous 4 cm across (with a Vinegar Fly taking a drink) 
The following notes are based on observations over a number of years, with additional information being updated and more photographs added as observation continues.
WARNING      Please note; Due to its deliquescence nature this mushroom may be poisonous and or produce toxins.
Coprinus Aqueous
 A mushroom, clearly identifiable by its unique form; Transparent cupped cap skin and translucent stem, black wet spore fruiting body, and the unusual ability to disperse spores in an aqueous jet.
The specific attributes in the fruiting body development (photographed  in 2010 and 2011) remain a fundamental constant, that differs from the growth patterns and physical properties to other known members of the Coprinus family of fungi. Accordingly, there may be a genetic difference or mutated alteration towards defining a separate distinctly different mushroom body to that of Coprinus cinereous or the Common Ink cap family, perhaps to the extent of defining a new species, Coprinus Aqueous.  In addition, the photographs show the diversity and adaptability found within the family group Coprinus; Possibly highlighting discovery of a new species or mutation indicative to climate change and evolution on a global scale, as this aqueous mushroom may be present in other parts pf the globe beyond these examples first identified and recorded in photographs by Andy D Kemp in Brittany France 2009-2011.
I first noticed this ink cap mushroom in 2006, and began to study it in more detail (using photography) when it re-appeared in June 2010 on a pile of pony soiled rotting straw beside the paddock, that had been removed from the stable and left in a pile to rot down in a shaded area to one side. There were about fifty tapering white stalks, four to five centimetres high, each with a wet inky black 'donut shaped' rolled edge cap measuring up to around one centimetre across. And by the time I returned with my camera in less than two hours, there was not a single sign, but for the occasional black stains left on some of the Barley straw.
Returning with a camera to hand the following morning, the fruiting bodies had finally reappeared just after 9.30 am. and I took a few shots. Amazed, I watched as the black cups filled with a translucent amber fluid before the heads suddenly started to topple one by one, partially collapsing the fragile pressurised shoots to shut off the fluid supply rising through their fragile tapering stems; and again within about an hour all the fungi had vanished.
A typical inky donut head just as it starts to lean then drop under the weight of the Amber fluid.             
On the following morning, I was intrigued when a few of the inky 'donut' shaped heads appeared to suddenly burst, sending out dark coloured sprays from tongues of the fruiting head, ejecting some of the fluid, laden with amber spores into the air. Once again, all the fruiting heads became too heavy, and there was a sea of triangular pillars made by the stalks as the inky heads came to rest on the ground, just before the expected vanishing act was repeated.
Unclear upon whether this inky fungi might be a danger for the returning ponies, the pile of rotten straw was barrowed away and subsequently buried out of harms way.

The spitting growth (4.5 cm long) recoiled back onto the cap, after it had dispensed a wet jet of spores.    And a view of Coprinus Aqueous after the whole cap has erupted.


With the warm weather in May 2011, a new crop of the same species appeared in some rotting Bearded Wheat straw, left over from the ponies wintering in their outdoor yard area.

This time round, perhaps due to the warmer climate conditions on a few of the mornings (and being in direct sunlight) some of the fungi grew much larger in size, and I was able to photograph more detail, establishing that these strange looking ink caps where most likely a member of the Coprinus family.
As before the stems appeared pressurised in a continuing process in osmosis, as the clear rising sap entered and expanded the growing cap, flowing out onto the upper surface and into the semipermeable fluted chamber areas in which the spores develope. Once again some of the fruiting bodies collapsed very early on, while others continued to develope unfurling downward as the rolled edge grew, developing a stronger mushroom resemblance in parasole form. As previously noted the spore dispersal appeared to be one via its suspention in fluid, leaching and or erupting through the translucent semipermeable cap structure, and the deflated mushroom body vanished very quickly. 
With further research I learnt that some Coprinus exhibit deliquescence, a phenomenon where the fungi develops an enzyme within the fruiting head. On the basis that the clear fluid rising through the stem extends the fruiting body growth, once it gathers up the developed spores into the resulting amber suspension a change in its properties occurs. And it is this apparent ejected cocktail (perhaps also activated by direct contact with the air through the semipermeable membrane) that effectively then triggers the digesting or self destruction of fungi tissue structure, as the spore laden amber fluid makes contact directly upon the outer wall or at the base of the stem; while at the same time dispersing the spores into the surrounding area carried in this fluids release and or wind dispersal, dependant upon the prevailing weather conditions during the whole fruiting process.
Once the head falls, the external amber fluid starts to destroy the stems wall, releasing all the internal osmotic pressure towards total collapse. Traces of the black spore stain can be seen to the left in the photograph on the right.

Observing the apparent very short life span (1 to 4 hours) of the fruiting body within the fungi’ cycle, and the speed and nature in which it disappears, I have nicknamed this Coprinus the 'Vanishing Mushroom' or 'Spitting Ink Cap'.

Rising on very delicate thin walled white stalks bearing short white stubble hair, the stems grow up to 1 cm diameter at their base, reaching a height of around 13 cm, while their black inky caps range in proportional size and form, from 0.4 (donut) rolled edge cup head, to 4 cm across ragged edge umbrella, and 5.3 across rolled edge parasol shape cap (photograph at foot of this page).
With very little physical wall structure to the stems, the mushroom's growth is very swift, with the initial formation of a wet, glossy black rolled edge (donut) cupped head, coupled with the continual rising sap that permiates and or explodes out onto the cap's surface; and or continues to flow in a measured balance while the cap grows, eventually unfurling into the ragged umbrella form, interdependent upon climatic conditions, the fine balance of osmotic fluid pressure and deliquescence properties within its overall form. The black, dark brown spores forming within the enclosed compartments of the fruiting head appear to alter the colour of the fluid to amber, and are often released in a spitting action as the membrain matures and ruptures under the osmotic pressure and or the deliquescence properties of this mushroom opening the cellular walls of the cap.
The beautiful glassy form of an extended, almost translucent fruiting body, after most of the spores have been ejected.
Summary of observations and comment.
Observing the presence of amber fluid in this aqueous Coprinus, the production of the spores appears to be instantaneous within the growth of the fungal caps. While the life span in the fruiting form is dictated by the volume of the rising sap remaining in balance with its overall growth. Before the fungi body collapses under the mechanical weight of the fluid, and or the breakdown of structural tissue through deliquescence timing, triggered by the release of its spore in an aqueous suspension through the erupting cap; to then disappear completely as quickly as it came. Such, that after Midday, I have found little trace of its existence, beyond the black inky stains that soon become lost upon the drying surface of the silvering strands of rotting straw.

This variety in Coprinus mushroom appears in a number of fruiting development forms, as the amber fluid can be seen flowing from both the smallest donut cups to the fully blown umbrellas, and is accordingly adaptable to various situations in weather. In perfect climate conditions, it is possible to see fully extended translucent umbrella forms, where nearly all the spores have been dispersed before the dispensed cocktail fells the mushroom, as its base disappears from beneath it.

The Coprinus Aqueous is possibly a variety or mutation of Coprinopsis lagopus, Coprinopsis cinerea, Coprinus cinereus, or the common ink cap. However, the characteristic rolled edged cup cap shape, that seemingly always unfurles in a downward (rather than upward motion) as the mushroom grows, the characteristic reliance upon pressurised fluid levels within its stem, its very short life span and fragility, suggests that perhaps this fungi is in a classification group of its own, that may sometimes grow alongside variants of the same family species; indicative of climate change and evolution.
It may also be determined, given that life evolved from the aquatic, that Coprinus Aqueous is affectively the immediate predecessor of Coprinus Cinereus, and through genetic mutation the developement of gills, the increase in fabric tissue, and its subsequent upward growth pattern has emerged; to the extent that evolution can be observed reoccurring (within this short time span) in the cycle of the Coprinus species.
June 2011


               Young translucent Coprinus Aqueous with spores gradually filling the chambers         Uneven growth may occur as the secretion properties come into action
The weather effects both growth and appearance
            A young Coprinus Aqueous caught in the rain may swell with a star shaped cap.        While an older cap may develope more rapidly in areas where more spores exist.
More infromation with additional photographs to follow in future updates.

Back again in 2016

The speed at which this mushroom comes and goes makes it very difficult to capture every detail of the fruiting body's life span without the aid of a slow motion video camera with sufficient lens and memory.
A view of the smallest to the largest photographed in Brittany, France.
The one above was 5.3 cm across with more to unfurl prior to its collapse.
Observing the weather, localities and site conditions; There appears to be an obvious requirement for sufficient moisture levels within the rotting straw (below the surface) for the fungi to draw upon, with ground temperatures around 10'C. In general the above ground weather conditions need to be warm, with a level of sunshine and or sufficient air movement, enabling the right balance to be struck for the unfurling of a full sizeable umbrella.
The full botanical name (Latin) is not currently known to the author and will be included upon comfirmation.


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