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Most of the mass of these beautiful mushrooms (Mycene interrupta) lives out of sight inside the wood, breaking it down for food in a way that eventually releases its nutrients back into the ecosystem.

The fruiting bodies that we see here emerge first as little tiny blue balls, maturing with a white stripe around 1 to 2 cm long and 10 to 20 mm thick. They are fragile enough that they can be toppled by a moderate breeze.

If you look closely, you’ll see that the base of the stipe is attached to the wood host by a flat white disc with sometimes blue margins.


This photograph was a finalist in Beaker Street’s annual Science Photography Prize. This highly-respected prize invites all Tasmanians to showcase the wonders of our extraordinary part of the world — which is teeming with science and scientists. Finalist images are displayed at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery during Beaker Street Festival each August, with great prizes on offer for Judges’ and People’s Choice winners.

The Beaker Street Science Photography Prize would not be possible without the support of Full Gamut, Tasmania’s premier fine art printers and long-time sponsor of this competition. Many thanks also go to Pennicott Wilderness Journeys, which donates a generous prize for the People’s Choice winner.