The fungus Clathrus archeri is an Antipodean species that was first recorded in the UK about 100 years ago. It is most often seen in the south of England, but appears to be spreading north. In 2017 it was recorded in the Sheffield area for the first time. A total of ten fruiting bodies have been reported so far; five were found by Dave Jefferies and five were found by Roger Butterfield.

The fruiting bodies of Clathrus archeri look (and smell) rather gruesome – like decaying flesh! This attracts masses of flies, which then unwittingly help to distribute the spores.

The fungus has quite a long fruiting season; the first fruiting body was found on 6th August and the last on 12th November. However, each individual fruiting body is very short-lived.
 

A fruiting body of the fungus Clathrus archeri, otherwise known as “Devil’s Fingers” or “Octopus Stinkhorn”.
Photographed near High Bradfield by Sorby member Roger Butterfield in August 2017.

A fruiting body of the fungus Clathrus archeri, otherwise known as “Devil’s Fingers” or “Octopus Stinkhorn”.
Photographed near High Bradfield by Sorby member Roger Butterfield in August 2017.

A fruiting body of the fungus Clathrus archeri, otherwise known as “Devil’s Fingers” or “Octopus Stinkhorn”.
Photographed near High Bradfield by Sorby member Roger Butterfield in October 2017.