An incredible first was recorded in the Kudremukha Ranges of India. Researchers recorded the possible first case of a mushroom found growing from a living frog. A Rao’s Intermediate Golden-backed Frog (Indosylvirana intermedia) had a Bonnet Mushroom (Mycena sp.) sprouting from its left side. (1)
The frog’s species is native to the Western Ghats and this particular frog was found with a group of about 40 near a roadside, rainwater-fed pond. The Bonnet mushroom is usually found on rotting wood and now researchers have a whole host of questions about the peculiar relationship between the mushroom and the otherwise-healthy frog.
Figure 1. A Rao’s Intermediate Golden-backed Frog (Indosylvirana intermedia) with a Bonnet Mushroom (Mycena sp.) sprouting from its left flank found on 19 June 2023, at Mala, Karkala, Karnataka, India. Photographs by Lohit Y.T.
Frogs are hosts to natural parasites so a parasitic relationship isn’t surprising, it’s the fact of the mushroom sprouting from the frog’s body while it was still alive. Mushroom caps, or the fruiting bodies, are where most of the spores are released in certain species, making this frog a live carrier of the fungus. The frog wasn’t collected for further study, and the study notes just how unprecedented this finding is.
The findings appeared in Vol. 31, No. 1 of the journal Reptiles & Amphibians, which is an international open-access journal that publishes peer-reviewed research on all aspects of herpetology. Head to this link to download the pdf.