Nature is filled with weird living creatures belonging to all species. Who would have thought that a fungus that looks like human fingers could exist in the world? As hard as it may sound to believe, there exists a fungus that goes by the name of tea-tree fingers with a finger like appearance. This weird looking fungus is actually one of the many rare and critically endangered members of its family. Tea-tree fingers is found on the Australian continent and as per reports it is rapidly decreasing in numbers.
The finger like fungus is barely holding on to its life on French Island, at a few kilometers from the Mornington Peninsula. Here, tea-fingers was found in large numbers that could exceed even the individual count on the entire mainland Australia. Ecologist Sapphire McMullan-Fisher from the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne stated, “The colony of tea-tree fingers fungus on French Island provides a little hope for the future of the species’ survival. It is also amusing to know how did the fungus manage to travel 2- to 5-kilometer in the ocean.” Though efforts were made to find the species of fungus on mainland Australia, no more than 4 locations in Victoria were found by surveyors.
Tea-tree fingers was discovered back in the early 1990s. The fungus builds its home on freshly fallen wood and wraps its finger-like appendages around twigs and branches. The fungus is thought to be a parasite of sorts that needs a host as its source of food, particularly a fellow fungus from the Hymenochaete family which is infamous for decomposing wood and digesting it in mysterious ways. There are several factors that are responsible for the decrease in the numbers of Tea-tree fingers, which include increasing bushfires, climate change, invasive species, changes in human land use, etc.