Hindu Kush Himalayan Biodiversity Information Facility


Past species of the month

past species of the month
Phallus indusiatus
Phallus indusiatus

Phallus indusiatus is commonly known as stinkhorn fungus or the veiled lady mushroom. In Nepal, we call it a “Jaali Chyaau” (जाली च्याउ). “Jaali” refers to a net. This picture is taken in Manaslu Conservation Area, Chekampar, in Gorkha District of Nepal at the altitude of 3025m. The mushroom looks very attractive with its whitish veil technically called indusium. Although elegant, the mushroom has a very unpleasant odor. Both the ordor and physical appearance relates to its advancement for spore dispersal over other mushroom species. Instead of only depending on wind for spore dispersal, the stinkhorns – as their name suggests – produce a stinky, brown, spore filled mucous called gleba. The insects are attracted by its appearance, and when they come to feed on the gleba, the spores get attached to insects and are carried far and wide. The species has several medicinal and aphrodisiac properties, and is among a highly praised edible mushrooms especially in China and Europe.

The Gaoligong hoolock gibbon
Hoolock gibbons

Hoolock gibbons belong to the family Hylobatidae. They are arboreal – live on trees, and mostly frugivorous – feed on fruits, young leaves, and flower buds. Ecologically, they play an important role in seed dispersal and forest regeneration. They are territorial and live in groups of 2-6 individuals. Hoolock gibbons are distributed in the forested areas in northeastern India, Bangladesh, Myanmar and southern China. Their natural range extends from east of Brahmaputra river to west of the Salween river. Habitat loss and forest degradation is the major challenge around conservation of this species. Conservation and management of habitat of species such as Hoolock that is spread across several countries call for collective efforts by countries sharing their habitats.