Rhizopogons are genetically related to both Suillus and Boletus mushrooms. They are basically just the pores, which have been contorted, distorted, compressed and enclosed in a compact underground form that is less dependent on water or wind for dispersal. They have developed a separate strategy for dispersal. They develop aromas which are attractive to certain animals and insects, which eat the spores and disperse them at some distance.
One of these insects is the Sclerid fly, which has a total life cycle of 3 days. the first two days the fly eats the interior of Rhizopogons and other hypogeous fungi. The last day, it pupates, transforms into a fly, mates, hopefully produces more eggs and deposits them in either underground fungi or aboveground fungi.
Rhizopogons can be told apart by various methods. One is the color of the gleba, when mature, which is always darker colored than when immature. Rhizopogons can take a week to mature, or even several months to mature, depending on soil conditions, water availability, warmth, and other factors. The great advancement of Rhizopogons is they are not dependent on wind for dispersal. Thus they are mid-way between mushrooms an truffles.
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Created: 2013-10-06 19:11:14 BST (+0100)
Last modified: 2013-10-06 19:31:51 BST (+0100)
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