A rare mushroom that smells like rotting flesh has been discovered again in Britain for the first time in twenty years.
The Clathrus Archeri fungus, also known as Devil's Fingers or Octopus Stinkhorn, was first found in the UK in 1946 but had not been seen since 1999.
However, it was spotted last week by an Avon Wildlife Trust conservation team at the Dolebury Warren nature reserve on the Mendip Hills, Bristol.
The Clathrus Archeri fungus (pictured), also known as Devil's Fingers or Octopus Stinkhorn, was spotted last week at Dolebury Warren nature reserve on the Mendip Hills, Bristol
The fungus forms into a partially buried 'egg' before its elongated, slender arms erupt to reveal a pink interior that is covered with a dark-olive spore which gives off the repugnant smell
The fungus grows in soil, among decaying wood chips, near old tree stumps or in leaf litter.
It first forms into a partially buried 'egg' made up of between four and seven elongated, slender arms.
The fungus then erupts and the arms unfold to reveal a pink interior that is covered with a dark-olive spore which gives off the repugnant smell.
Charlotte Targett, who is a Living Landscape Assistant at Avon Wildlife Trust, said she was 'really astonished' after first spotting the fungus.
She said: 'I didn't know what it was when I first saw it.
'It looked like some sort of strange sea creature.'
The fungus grows in soil, among decaying wood chips, near old tree stumps or in leaf litter. was first found in the UK in 1946 but had not been seen since 1999
Conservation colleague Joe McSorley, who was accompanying Ms Targett, was able to identify it.
He said: 'We were surprised to find Devil's Fingers fungi as it's a rare find in the UK, with only two known records from our region, both from 1999.
'Careful conservation management over the years means that Dolebury Warren is particularly rich in fungal species.'
The mushroom species is native to New Zealand and Australia and made its way over to Europe around 105 years ago.
It is believed to have been introduced first to France in 1914 through military supplies during the start of the First World War.
The fungus was then first spotted in Britain nearly 30 years later in Cornwall in 1946 before it spread to Bedfordshire, Hampshire, Kent, Suffolk, Surrey and the Channel Islands.
Dave Lamacraft, plant champion for the conservation charity Plantlife, said it was a 'fantastic rare Halloween find'.
He added: 'It erupts from a partially buried "egg" by pushing its red octopus-like arms through the egg which then unfold revealing their sticky and smelly insides.
'Related to the stinkhorns, it smells of rotting flesh, which attract insects to the sticky substance on the octopus arms where the spores are found - the spores are then spread by the visiting insects.'
Twitter users were quick to comment on the Trust's discovery.
One user, Shela Yates, said: 'Halloween trick??? No just more lies to cover up Truths.
'Not walking in tall grasses again. Aliens have arrived.'
Another, Marissa Mackenzie, said: 'Now I know where the idea for the 'Alien' movies came from.'
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